Vikings Battle COVID and Bears in Week 15

The National Feeling on Bears-Vikings
Nov 16, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) rushes the ball past Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the third quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

To say that the 2021 campaign for the Minnesota Vikings has been up and down to this point would be a massive understatement.

Entering this year, the Vikings were the team that had the lowest vaccination rate amongst everyone in the NFL. As of early Wednesday, four players are currently on the COVID-19/Reserve list, with three practice squad members also on the list. Throughout the entire season, Minnesota has placed 21 different players on the COVID/Reserve list, including big names such as safety Harrison Smith, defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, and center Garrett Bradbury.

The 21 names throughout the season are second-highest to the Cleveland Browns, who have put 24 different players on that list. Right now, the four players who are involved include wide receiver Dede Westbrook, wide receiver Dan Chisena, and running back Alexander Mattison. Defensive end Danielle Hunter is not officially on the list by the team announcements but is there on the NFL transactions wire. However, the Vikings are already without Hunter due to season-ending surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle he sustained in a 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys back at the beginning of November.

Mattison is also unvaccinated, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reports. Thus the former Boise State Bronco will be out for Monday night’s matchup at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.

Switching focuses, let’s turn the page and look ahead to the excitement of primetime action on Monday Night as one of the oldest rivalries adds another chapter in 2021.

Monday will mark the first time that the teams have met in the new campaign, with the second match-up coming on the final week of the regular season on Jan. 9, 2022.

The Vikings are looking to move back to the .500 mark and earn their seventh win of the season, while the Bears are going for win number five against nine losses.

Overall, this game marks the 121st battle between the two NFC North foes, with the Vikes leading the all-time series 61-57-2 (including one playoff matchup).

Minnesota comes in following a statement 36-28 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football from Dec. 9, led mainly by an impressive effort from a banged-up Dalvin Cook (dislocated shoulder), who managed 27 carries for 205 yards and a pair of scores.

Meanwhile, the Bears are coming off their second straight loss as they fell in primetime to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday 45-30.

It will be interesting to see how both teams handle COVID, the elements, and the hype leading up to the big game on Monday night.