Bears Banged Up Defense Looking to Plug Holes Ahead of Important NFC North Game Against the Minnesota Vikings
The Chicago Bears are falling apart at the seams at the wrong time of year.
The Bears had three defensive starters limited in practice ahead of their must-win game with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Akiem Hicks, Jaylon Johnson, and Khalil Mack were unable to practice in full, although Johnson and Mack are the only two officially listed as questionable for Sunday.
Rookie cornerback Johnson has been a black hole in the secondary. He has 44 tackles, 15 defended passes while allowing a completion percentage of only 56.4%. Mack’s importance to the Bears defense can’t be overstated either. He’s up to 7.5 sacks on the season, three forced fumbles, one interception, and 41 tackles.
If neither stalwart can go, it could be a big day for the Vikings’ offense. The Bears will have to decide where to focus their attention with limited resources, leaving one of the three-headed monsters of Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson to have a big game. Thielen is the most inexpensive option at FanDuel, currently listed at $7,400, with Jefferson at $7,600 and Cook leading the way at $9,400.
Jefferson leads the Vikings in receptions, targets and yards, while Thielen has been Kirk Cousins’ safety blanket in the red zone, collecting 12 touchdown passes in 12 games, good enough for third in the league. But both receivers take a back seat to Cook, who has 1674 total yards and 15 touchdowns on the season.
The victor of Sunday’s contest will live to see their playoff fight continue, while the loser could effectively be eliminated from playoff contention. The Vikings are -3 at FanDuel Sportsbook, but that line might move in their direction if Johnson and Mack are both confirmed to be out on Sunday.