The Green Bay Packers had to be disappointed by their tie against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, as a win would have put them in a three-way tie for the NFC North lead. The Minnesota Vikings, though, had to be disappointed for a different reason -- they probably would have wanted Green Bay to win, as well, as the tie knocked the quarterback-needing Vikings out of pole position for the first pick in the NFL Draft. Sunday, the Vikings get another chance to get into the loss column as they host the Chicago Bears in a 1 p.m. ET game. Along with the real implications, there are plenty of fantasy players of intrigue:
Bench: Michael Bush, Defense/special teams
In his three starts, McCown is averaging almost 17 fantasy points. In the four games he's playing significant time, it's just over 16. He has a 20-point game and an 18-point game, with his worst outing, a 12-point game in Week 11, coming in the "the world is ending" weather game against the Ravens. He's been a good fantasy quarterback since Jay Cutler got hurt, and only the Cowboys allow more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Vikings. ... Marshall and Jeffery have proven that the Bears' offense can support two top receiving options, with both obvious every-week starters. ... Gould didn't get any field-goal opportunities Sunday, but had made at least two a game in five straight games before that.
If Forte goes, he's just about a must-start, as he's the No. 5 fantasy running back and the Vikings have been terrible against the run all season. That said, he's scored in the single digits twice in three games, and he's nursing a knee injury that could hinder his production Sunday. Just something to be aware of. ... Bennett finally had another big game Sunday, with 62 yards and a touchdown, but he'd been mediocre-to-worse since Week 2 otherwise.
This sort of piece normally wouldn't even include mention of Bush, but Forte's injury give the veteran a bit more relevance. That said, if Forte misses, the team will probably turn more to its receivers rather than giving Bush the workload. ... The Vikings have been generous to opposing defenses and the Bears' defense has had some big games this year, but it is an absolutely abysmal unit against the run, and the Vikings have, you know, Adrian Peterson.
Start in every league: Adrian Peterson, Blair Walsh
Is there a category higher than "Start" for Peterson? Maybe the most talented NFL running back in a generation facing a defense that allowed hundred-yard games to two different Rams running backs a week ago, and has given up at least 20 fantasy points to running backs in seven of its last eight games. Have fun, AD. ... Walsh didn't get a lot of field-goal opportunities in the middle of the season, but has kicked eight field goals and eight extra points in his last three games, with 35 fantasy points in that time.
Gerhart has 28 rushing yards through Week 10; he has 158 in the two games since. As the Vikings look to protect Peterson for the long run, Gerhart has been getting more looks, and he's done well in that time. Again, the Bears have an awful run defense. If Gerhart can get on the field for a handful of touches, he could provide modest accumulation. ... Patterson is the Vikings' best receiver -- not that that's saying much -- and the team would like to see his touches increase. On the other hand, while Chicago's run defense is awful, the pass defense is decent, and Patterson still has Ponder throwing to him.
Speaking of Ponder, no thank you. ... Jennings and Simpson came to Minnesota in each of the last two offseasons, and the team would probably like do-overs on those. ... Carlson had a huge game in Week 10, but has been pedestrian in his last two. He'll provide 4-5 fantasy points, but there's not much upside beyond that. ... The Vikings' defense has negative-5 points in its last two, zero total points in its last five, and only 37 fantasy points in 11 games all season. That's pretty hideous.