Minnesota Vikings: Week 5 preview against the Chicago Bears

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 1: Linval Joseph /

Players to Watch


1. Mitch Trubisky

All eyes are on the Bears rookie quarterback in this one. Trubisky was the second overall pick in the draft and Chicago paid a big price to move up a spot to take him. While there’s no way to know how he transitions to the NFL game, expectations are high for the 23-year-old. The Vikings have to make sure they contain him in the pocket because he’s known to use his legs plenty. He rushed for 308 yards and five touchdowns with North Carolina, so he’s considered a dual-threat quarterback.

2. Tarik Cohen

Cohen is another rookie, who has already made a huge impact on the Bears offense. I was tempted to include Jordan Howard as well, but there’s more to account for with the 5-foot-6 running back. Compared to Howard, Cohen is the better pass catcher, yet is no slouch on the ground either. On the year, the agile back has 181 rush yards to go along with 150 receiving yards on 24 catches. The Vikings have to keep their eye on Cohen at all times as the Bears depleted receiving core has given him an even bigger role in the pass attack.

3. Pernell McPhee

The Bears outside linebacker is coming off back-to-back games with sacks and was a menace in Chicago’s victory at home over the Vikings last season. At around 270 pounds, McPhee is mainly used as a pass rusher off the edge and when healthy, he looks like one of the best in the league. This year, the Vikings upgraded their offensive line with Riley Reiff, Pat Elflein and Mike Remmers, who likely draws the matchup against McPhee. That battle will be one to watch as Remmers has had a strong start to his 2017 season, allowing no sacks through four games.


1. Linval Joseph

The man in the middle is the top player to watch on the defense. After a quiet first three games, Joseph made his presence known against the Lions producing nine tackles as well as his first sack of the season. With the likes of Howard and Cohen in the Bears backfield, another big game from the “Big Goon” will go a long way into shutting them down.

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2. Latavius Murray

On the offensive end, eyes will be on Murray as he’s the likely starter with Cook gone for the season. After receiving only seven carries in the first three games, Murray put up the same amount last game in replace of Cook. Yet, he only put up 21 yards on those carries and has a dismal 2.7 yards per carry for the year. If Murray doesn’t produce better results, the Vikings may have a tough time on offense against a solid Chicago defense.

On side note, there’s a good chance Michael Floyd makes his season debut for the Vikings. If so, he will be another player to follow on offense.

3. Eric Kendricks/Anthony Barr

Okay, a big game from both is ideal. Yet, whoever gets the assignment of covering Howard or Cohen in passing situations definitely has to be on top of his game. Barr and Kendricks have done well facing multiple pass-catching backs already, so that will need to continue into this week. As stated, the Bears receiving core is decimated with injuries, so they love using their running backs in the pass game. In fact, Howard and Cohen combine for 34 catches through four games, a pretty high number from the backfield.