Vikings vs. Bears: Minnesota's Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 12
A 28-10 win was exactly what the Bears needed after the beating they took last Monday night, and all is well in Chicago again.
The Vikings did not play well at all, and it was a difficult time to find even one guy worthy of the "winner" title.
We'll give it a shot anyway; here are the Minnesota Vikings' winners and losers from Sunday.
Loser: Christian Ponder
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Christian Ponder helped the Minnesota Vikings drive down the field a few times against the Chicago Bears, but did not do nearly enough to win the game.
Ponder rarely made an attempt to throw the ball down the field, and when he did it sailed over his receivers' heads, once ending up in the arms of Bears' safety Chris Conte.
Ponder is still young and has tons of room for improvement and development, but until he can start finding receivers down field, the Vikings won't be contending.
The Bears' defense is designed to stop the big plays and allow the check down throws, but Ponder's passes of 20 or more yards weren't even close.
To win in the NFL, your quarterback is going to have to make some throws into tight windows downfield.
Ponder did not do that Sunday, and it hurt the Vikings.
Loser: Minnesota Vikings' Play Calling
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I thought the Minnesota Vikings' offensive game plan was pretty solid going into the game Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
They played to Christian Ponder's strengths, giving him a lot of easy option check downs after he made his first read on a play.
They had a few well-designed play action passes that caught the Bears by surprise, helping them pick up a few first downs and a touchdown.
What they didn't do was feed Adrian Peterson the ball enough.
Peterson had only 18 carries, with which he picked up 108 yards, and it seemed like the Vikings went away from their best offensive player too early in the game.
The Vikings were down a few scores, but forcing Christian Ponder to drop back 44 times isn't going to help your offense.
Peterson should have gotten the ball more often, even with the score the way it was.
Winner: Kyle Rudolph
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My only pure winner on the day for the Minnesota Vikings, Kyle Rudolph played well Sunday and seemed to be one of the only players making a positive impact on the field.
Rudolph caught five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown against a good Chicago Bears defense and appears to be developing into a pretty solid tight end.
Rudolph was targeted 9 times in the game, and it is clear that Christian Ponder likes throwing in his direction.
Rudolph made a few good plays and had a solid game overall.
Toss Up: Adrian Peterson
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Adrian Peterson is a beast.
I can't possibly put this guy in the "losers" column, even if he did have two pretty big fumbles.
Peterson had only 18 carries but rushed for 108 yards, averaging six per attempt.
The Chicago Bears don't give up 100-yard rushing games very often, and Peterson earned his today.
Peterson just doesn't slow down, fighting for every inch he can get, even after coming off a major knee injury.
The Minnesota Vikings need to give this guy the ball more often, taking some pressure off Christian Ponder while fueling touchdown drives.
If Peterson doesn't turn the ball over, there is no doubt he is a "winner" after this game and will be moving forward with the Vikings.
Loser: Minnesota Vikings' Defensive Line
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The Chicago Bears' offensive line was a pretty big winner today.
That means, by default, the Minnesota Vikings' defensive front was a loser.
The Bears had two new linemen starting today, Johnathon Scott and Chris Spencer, and lost another, Lance Louis, to an injury.
This should have been a big day for a talented Vikings front four and a game the Vikings defense should have kept them in.
Instead, the unit had only one sack for a loss of five yards.
The Vikings defense brought little pass rush throughout the game, Jay Cutler got some time in the pocket, and that was that.