Vikings feeling sense of 'dj vu' after loss to Bears


Vikings feeling sense of 'dj vu' after loss to Bears

The date was October 14, 2007. The stage was Soldier Field. Rookie running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns, breaking the Minnesota Vikings single-game rushing record, in a 34-31 win over the Chicago Bears.

Thats the last time the Vikings won a game in Chicago. Since then the Bears have dominated the Vikings, winning the last five meetings at Soldier Field.

This is becoming dj vu up here, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said. This is the same script, just a different year. We got to fix something.

One Viking suggests something supernatural may be the reason for Chicagos success.

They might have a lucky troll or something over there, defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. Every time we come up here it seems like the same story. We got to find a way to get over that and get a win here.

Recently the Vikings are not only having a tough time beating the Bears in Chicago, but they cant beat them at home either, losing six consecutive games in the series.

So is this something the Vikings carried with them heading into Sundays game?

We knew what we was getting into, Peterson said. Those guys wanted to come out and make a statement, but I feel like it was more so what we did. Giving the ball away. Not making routine plays. Got to give credit to those guys because they did a good job of stopping us.

The two teams will strap it on two weeks from now in Minnesota in what will be another crucial game for both teams playoff hopes.

Well swallow this, Peterson said. But I cant wait to see them again.

Marshall impressive to Vikings defense

Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall collected 12 receptions for 92 yards on Sunday, becoming the first Bears wideout since Marty Booker to go over 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

I think Brandon Marshall caught literally everything that was thrown to him, which was impressive, Allen said.

Marshall didnt have many huge gains, his longest catch was for 17 yards, but the sheer volume of balls he hauled in was back-breaking for the Vikings.

He has a great catch radius, Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said. We were in position a few times with tight coverage and somehow the ball got in there and he came up with it. Hes a good player.

Balancing act for Bears

In the Monday night loss to San Francisco the Bears rushed for 85 yards, but only had 58 passing yards. Obviously those kind of offensive numbers wont win you many football games. But, in Sundays 28-10 win over the Vikings, the balance was back, as Chicago had 113 yards on the ground and 183 yards through the air.

Anytime you can be two-dimensional, its kind of hard to stop as a defense, Winfield said.

In a week that saw Chilo Rachal temporarily leave the team after being demoted for Chris Spencer, Gabe Carimi benched in favor of Jonathan Scott and Jay Cutler return to action, change was more of a theme than surprise.

They changed some protection things up, Allen said. We knew they were going to. You bench a guy and youre not going to just sit back there in five man protection and let people rush, especially when Jay Cutler is coming off of a head injury. So, hats off to them.

The Vikings watched Jason Campbell run the Bears offense on film against the 49ers, but instead faced off against Cutler on Sunday. So whats the biggest difference?

I think Cutler gets the ball out of his hands a lot quicker, Winfield said. He scrambles a lot more, buys time and hes not afraid to take chances. You can see Marshall in coverage and hes still throwing him the ball.

Slow start

Michael Bushs rush into the end zone, his second score of the game, with four minutes left in the second quarter hurt the Vikings. But the successful two-point conversion by holder Adam Podlesh was deflating, as it extended the Bears lead to 18-3.

We got chopped off at the head quick and that can break you down, Peterson said We continued to fight it just didnt go our way.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was intercepted by Chris Conte on the next drive, setting up Cutlers 13-yard touchdown pass to Matt Spaeth, giving the Bears a 25-3 halftime lead.

The game got out of hand real early and we didnt really give ourselves a chance, Winfield said.

Ready for a rematch

Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was adamant that Minnesota (6-5) was still in the playoff hunt, even following a 28-10 blowout loss to the Bears.

Were not panicking at all, Greenway said. We wanted this one really bad. This was a huge game for us. We need to take care of business in Green Bay and we need to take of business when Chicago is at our place. Thats just the way it has to be.

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 8

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 8

We're living in a bizarre age of fantasy football.

Each week we're questioning whether or not we should start players such as DeAndre Hopkins and Todd Gurley. At the same time, we're making room in our lineups for Jacquizz Rodgers, Ty Montgomery and Terrelle Pryor.

Down is up and up is down.

If you have any questions, hit us up on @CSNFantasy and tune in to our weekly Fantasy Fix Facebook Live show every Thursday.

Let's get right into the Week 8 Start/Sit and as always, Liam Neeson has a message for you:


Devontae Booker, RB, DEN (vs. SD) - With the news that C.J. Anderson is likely done for the season with a torn meniscus, Booker has turned into a must-own/must-start running back. The rookie out of Utah is averaging an impressive 4.8 yards per carry in limited time, and now moves into the starting role in Gary Kubiak's running back friendly offense which ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing attempts per game. Booker is a no-brainer this weekend against a Chargers defense which has allowed the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in 2016. (Scott Krinch)

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, NYJ (@ CLE) - I'll get criticism for this prediction, but Fitzpatrick should be a firm QB1 in Week 8. The Browns are always on the fantasy radar as a friendly opponent for quarterbacks, which is the team Fitzpatrick draws on Sunday. Cleveland hasn't allowed less than two passing touchdowns in any game this season, and have given up three scores to opposing signal callers four out of the last five weeks. This is a layup for Fitzpatrick owners. (Krinch)

Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, GB (@ ATL) - Fantasy players were given an early stocking stuffer when Montgomery was granted running back eligibility in the majority of leagues. It doesn't matter which position you want to insert Montgomery in, he just needs to be in your lineup at all costs. With 20 receptions on 25 targets and 12 carries for 66 yards in his last two games, Montgomery is turning into one of the league's most valuable fantasy commodities. The Packers opponent this weekend, the Falcons, have allowed the second-most receptions to running backs. Look for Montgomery to take advantage in that area. (Krinch)

[SHOP BEARS: Get your Bears gear here]


Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI (vs. MIN) - Jay Cutler's thumb has mysteriously healed and it's time for Jeffery to become a Top 10 wide receiver, right? Not exactly. I like Jeffery's outlook for the remainder of the season, but for this week and this week only, I'm staying clear of him. The Vikings defense presents a major mismatch for the Bears offense, and Jeffery will be in for a long night against a Vikings which ranks No. 2 against opposing wide receivers. (Krinch)

Matthew Stafford, QB, DET (@ HOU) - Stafford is having an MVP-caliber season and in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career so I know I'll get a lot of flack for benching him. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Stafford fan and think he's one of the best fantasy bargains in 2016. I just expect him to be more of a game manager against a stingy Texans secondary. Look for Stafford to keep the turnovers at a minimum and for the Lions to establish a ground attack, limiting Stafford's fantasy value for this week. (Krinch)

Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR (vs. ARI) - The forgotten man in most fantasy circles — despite routinely finishing each season as a Top 20 running back — is going to keep that label this weekend. The Cardinals front seven has been a nightmare for opposing running backs, and I expect it to be no different on Sunday. If the Cardinals get up big — a very good possibility — it's going to be a game of catch-up for the Panthers offense which will limit Stewart's touches. (Krinch)

Adjusting to bench role, Nikola Mirotic made big defensive play to seal Bulls win

Adjusting to bench role, Nikola Mirotic made big defensive play to seal Bulls win

Anytime Nikola Mirotic is on an island defensively in a crucial moment of a game, there’s a general sense of nervousness and doubt that’s palpable inside the United Center.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when Mirotic defended Boston Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown well enough to force a travel in the final minute of the Bulls’ 105-99 win Thursday night.

With the Celtics down two, Brown started his drive from the top of the key and pivoted back to his right. When he rose up for a jumper or pass, Mirotic was right in his face and Brown, a talented rookie playing in his second NBA game, didn’t know where to go.

He came back down with the ball still in his hands for a traveling violation, and the stage was set for Dwyane Wade’s closing heroics.

Wade, the closer was set up by Mirotic, the stopper—well, let’s not go that far just yet.

“I tried just to play good defense, to make him drive the ball because we want him to shoot a contested shot,” Mirotic said. “It was big-time defense. We needed that one. After that, Dwyane Wade has huge stop and made that 3. It’s a team job, team defense. I was just trying to be a part of that. I’m very happy about the game.”

In all fairness, Brown is a rookie and the Bulls would rather not see Mirotic in a one-on-one situation late in games defensively. But it appears as if Fred Hoiberg will give him the opportunities to close games so Mirotic will find himself in instances where he’ll have to make plays on both ends.

Hoiberg called it the defensive play of the game, and agreed with the assessment of Mirotic being an underrated defensive rebounder despite his struggles on that end of the floor.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It just goes to show you even when your shot isn’t falling, you can still have a positive impact,” Hoiberg said. “I loved his attack. He was getting in the paint and got some offensive rebound tip-ins as well so just overall solid game.”

Although Hoiberg had to make the decision to insert Taj Gibson as a starter at power forward over Mirotic, it’s not hard to see scenarios like Thursday where both are together to close games—Mirotic will be needed to spread the floor for Wade and Jimmy Butler to create shots in one-on-one situations.

Mirotic missed five of his six 3-point shots but was flawless inside the line, scoring 15 with nine rebounds.

“To be honest, I didn’t feel very comfortable with my 3-point shot,” said Mirotic, although Hoiberg said Mirotic’s attempts were good looks. “I tried to find a way to score, make an impact on the game---rebound the ball, play unselfish. My goal was to play good defense because I know that’s the next step.”

Getting over the idea of losing a starting job many believed would’ve been his given the composition of the roster seems to be behind Mirotic, who was a starter last season before acute appendicitis forced him out of action before the All-Star break.

“It doesn’t feel right to be honest. But no disappointment. It is what it is,” Mirotic said. “I want to not think and be focused and play my game. Now that I come from the bench, it’s like, ‘All right, figure out how you’re going to do that, how you’re going to help your team and play well.’”

Gibson and Mirotic were the only Bulls to shoot over 50 percent, as Gibson’s strong preseason play carried over to the opener. Make no mistake, if the Bulls are to exceed modest expectations, Mirotic will have to step up, as his production is no longer a luxury.

“It’s going to be a long season. But I told Fred it’s no problem,” Mirotic said. “I respect your decision. Taj is an amazing player. He’s playing so good. He’s in great shape. He deserves to be the starter. He has played a lot of years here. So I respect that. I’m cool with that. What I want to do is play my game, improve this year, make my team win more games. That’s all I can do.”