Bears Choose Starting QB vs. Vikings

While the Chicago Bears jostle for draft placement in Week 18, the Minnesota Vikings will live on a prayer of reclaiming the NFC’s No. 2 playoff seed.

If the Vikings topple the Bears in the “noon hour” and the San Francisco 49ers lose to the Arizona Cardinals — the 49ers are favored by two touchdowns — in the 3:25 pm CST timeslot, the Vikings would indeed become the two-seed.

On Wednesday, the outlook became easier for the Vikings section of the bargain. The Bears tweeted, “Justin Fields has a strain in his hip & will be out this week. Nathan Peterman will start at QB.”

Bears Choose Starting
Dec 18, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, Chicago Bears quarterback Nathan Peterman. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

And Fields hasn’t been a total rockstar in 2022 — despite what some Bears faithful insist — but he has shown development signs of promise and the wherewithal to expose the Vikings defense. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, it’s an easier menu for the Vikings to face Peterman instead of Fields on Sunday.

Bears Choose Starting QB vs. Vikings

The Buffalo Bills drafted Peterman in the 5th Round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He stayed in Buffalo for a couple of years, jaunted to the Oakland Raiders with Jon Gruden and friends for a few more, and settled with the Bears last offseason. He’s most famous for his five-interception and no-touchdown performance against the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017.

Aug 27, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Nathan Peterman. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports.

All told, Peterman has played in 12 NFL games, starting 4, tossing 3 touchdowns to 13 interceptions en route to a 32.2 career passer rating and 598 passing yards. His teams have a 1-3 record with Peterman at QB1.

Of course, Peterman starting awakens Vikings fans’ paranoia, as before 2022, Minnesota struggled mightily against reservist quarterbacks. Men like Andy Dalton, Chase Daniel, Cooper Rush, etc., chewed through the Vikings defense — inexplicable for that era under a defense-first head coach in Mike Zimmer.

But, for the most part, the Vikings have slain QB2 demons in 2022, defeating all of them along the way. Perhaps Kevin O’Connell and his defensive coaching staff have turned the page.

Vegas Has an Odd Beef with Kevin O'Connell
Kevin O’Connell

The Vikings fumbled the No. 2 seed last weekend at Lambeau Field, losing to the Packers by a score of 41-17. The loss relegated Minnesota to the No. 3 seed — probably for good — and aided the Packers unlikely playoff push. About six weeks ago, Green Bay was dead in the water with a 4-8 record but has won every game since and controls its own “destiny” to gallop into the postseason. The Packers host the Detroit Lions this week with win-and-in playoff stakes.

Vegas oddsmakers evidently knew the Peterman news was on the way. The point spread opened with the Vikings at -1, climbed to 5 points on Tuesday, and now sits at Vikings by 7.5 after the formal Peterman announcement by the Bears.

O’Connell told reporters that he plans to play Minnesota’s starters at Chicago despite the game’s mostly meaningless nature.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).