3 Storylines for Vikings-Bears in Week 6
This weekend, the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings are set to meet at Soldier Field.
It will be the first divisional game for the Vikings of their 2023 season, and despite a poor start to the season, they can certainly get themselves back into the NFC North race if they win their six in-division games this season.
As the game approaches, here is a look at 3 storylines to keep an eye on before this Week 6 NFC North battle.
The Battle for the Bottom of the NFC North
The Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears are sharing the bottom of the NFC North right now, with each team holding a 1-4 record. The two teams have gotten there in similar ways because of a lack of consistency on offense.
The Vikings have piled up huge yardage totals in some of their games before turning the ball over at the worst possible times. Meanwhile, Chicago has simply gone completely stagnant for entire quarters and halves. Their game against the Broncos in Week 4 comes to mind where they took a 28-7 lead in the fourth quarter before allowing Denver to score 24 unanswered points to close things out.
Chicago has become relatively used to being near the bottom of the NFC North over the past few years, finishing in that spot five times in the past nine years. Meanwhile, Minnesota has not had sole possession of last place in the NFC North since they started 0-3 during the 2020 season. That would change if the Vikings don’t figure out how to win on Sunday.
What Does the Vikings Passing Offense Look Like?
Of course, the biggest storyline coming into this game revolves around the Vikings passing game and what they will look like without star wide receiver Justin Jefferson. The reigning league-leader in receptions and receiving yards is headed to IR for at least the next four weeks with a hamstring injury, leaving a huge void at WR for the Vikings.
The most obvious choice to take over the WR1 duties for Minnesota is Jordan Addison, who the Vikings selected in the first round of the 2023 Draft out of USC. He held that role throughout most of collegiate career (splitting time at Pittsburgh and USC). However, Addison has been on Minnesota’s injury report over the past couple days as well with an ankle injury.
The Vikings did add a pair of extra receivers to the 53-man roster this week, signing both N’Keal Harry and Trishton Jackson from the practice squad, so Minnesota has these two options as well as K.J. Osborn and Brandon Powell if Addison is less than 100%. Regardless, the passing offense will look very different without Jefferson in the lineup.
Bears RB Injuries
The Vikings aren’t the only team dealing with injuries heading into Sunday. The Chicago Bears have gotten better in the passing game over the past couple weeks with Justin Fields throwing for 617 yards and 8 TDs in Chicago’s last two games.
However, at their core, the Bears are a run-first offense. They rank among the top-10 in rushing yards, accruing 4.9 yards per carry to begin the year. A big part of that success on the ground has been because of their RB duo of Khalil Herbert and rookie Roschon Johnson.
That may change on Sunday, though. Neither Herbert (ankle) or Johnson (concussion) have been able to practice yet this week. Herbert was later placed on IR, and Johnson was ruled out on Friday, putting D’Onta Foreman at the top of Chicago’s RB room despite having just five carries to his name so far in 2023.
NOTE: This article was originally published on our sister-site, PurplePTSD.com.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.