The Minnesota Vikings finished the 2017 regular season 13-3 after a convincing win over the Chicago Bears.
The regular season finale at U.S. Bank Stadium was dominated by the NFC North champions. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead on a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs in the first half, the Vikings never looked back.
The Vikings rode the strength of their defense en route to securing the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
The Vikings defense shined all game. The league’s top defensive unit held the Bears to 30 yards rushing on 15 carries (2.0 YPC). Tarik Cohen was Chicago’s leading rusher with 13 yards.
Anthony Barr shut down the Bears rushing attack in the first quarter almost single-handedly. Later, Minnesota’s defensive line forced a safety as Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter pressured Chicago’s signal caller into a back-handed throw “attempt.”
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky went 20 for 36 (55.6%) for 178 yards. He had a QBR of 15.2 and a passer rating of 69.0.
Late in the fourth quarter trailing by 13, Chicago had eight snaps from inside the Minnesota 12, including six inside the 5, but could not reach the end zone.
The Vikings third-down prowess was again in full force Sunday. The offense went 5-of-13 on third-downs while the defense held Chicago to 1-of-12 on third-down conversions.
For the season Minnesota’s offense finished third in the NFL in third-down completion percentage (43.5%) while the defense finished first by a considerable margin, holding opposing offenses to a 25.2% conversion rate on third-downs.
Trae Waynes had quite possibly the best game of his NFL career. Although he missed an open-field tackle in the backfield in the second half, he recorded two passes defended and two tackles and according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), allowed a 60.4 passer rating when targeted in the passing game.
Brian Robison earned Minnesota’s only sack, his 60th as a Viking, which places him in a tie with Kevin Williams for ninth in franchise history.
Even with a makeshift offensive line of Riley Reiff, Jeremiah Sirles, Joe Berger, Mike Remmers and Rashod Hill the Vikings gave up two sacks. A year after allowing 38 sacks, the unit gave up 27 sacks in 2017.
Case Keenum finished a strong 2017 campaign on a good note, finishing the game 21 of 29 for 189 yards with one touchdown. He hit seven different receivers. He had a QBR of 71.4 and a passer rating of 101.1.
Keenum had 14 starts this season (with 15 games played). He went 325 for 481 (67.6%) for 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He had a QBR of 71.4 and a passer rating of 98.3. He also added 160 rushing yards on 40 attempts (4.0 YPC).
Tight end David Morgan had a standout game, hauling in three catches for 35 yards. He was included in PFF’s top five grades from the game.
TOP 5 GRADES:
Latavius Murray was the star of the game for the Vikings offense. He finished with 111 rushing yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Murray was an asset for the Vikings down the stretch as he finished the regular season with 842 yards with eight touchdowns.
Stefon Diggs collected a touchdown for the third straight game and finished the game with six catches for 65 yards and a score. Diggs finished the regular season with 64 catches for 849 yards and eight touchdowns.
Adam Thielen added six catches for 61 yards. The Pro Bowler finished the regular season with 91 catches for 1,276 yards with four touchdowns.
Vikings punter Ryan Quigley had a great game that concluded an unbelievable regular season. According to Pioneer Press writer Chris Tomasson Quigley tied an NFL record with no punts for touchbacks this season.
#Vikings punter Ryan Quigley ties NFL record with no punts for touchbacks with 40 or more in a season.
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) December 31, 2017
Kai Forbath missed his only field goal attempt from 55-yards. He finished the regular season 32-of-38 (84.2%) on field goals and 34-of-39 (87.2%) on extra points.
Vikings fullback C.J. Ham left the game and did not return after a neck injury. It has been reported that he will be back for the Vikings first playoff game.
Minnesota clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs with Sunday’s win. They will not play next weekend.
The Vikings next game will be January 14th at 3:40pm against the Rams, Saints, or Panthers, depending on what occurs during Wild Card weekend.