A week after the Bears made national headlines with their decision to bench starting quarterback Jay Cutler, he's back in the lineup due to a concussion suffered by Jimmy Clausen last Sunday. Cutler's last outing was a three-interception affair against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. With reports raging that the Bears may be looking to move on from him, Cutler will have a chance to wash away that dreadful performance.
While Cutler's main objective will be limiting turnovers, the Bears' offense should lean on tailback Matt Forte. The seventh-year veteran needs just 13 rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the fifth time in his career. Forte can also be a threat in the passing game as his 785 yards and team-leading 94 receptions attest. On defense, Chicago will be playing without Willie Young, who tore his Achilles' tendon last week and is expected to miss six to nine months.
As for the Vikings, their season was derailed early by Adrian Peterson's child abuse scandal. While that remains a dominant narrative of their season, the team has quietly improved during the second half to challenge some of the NFL's best. Minnesota came within a field goal of knocking off the 11-4 Green Bay Packers and would have taken down the Detroit Lions had Blair Walsh converted any of his three field-goal attempts.
The turnaround has largely come as the result of Teddy Bridgewater's improved play. The rookie quarterback is now completing over 64 percent of his passes on the season and has thrown nearly twice as many touchdowns (nine) as interceptions (five) over his last five starts. The defense has also received great play out of a rookie as linebacker Anthony Barr has been a playmaking machine his first season, registering four sacks and 70 tackles. However, a knee injury prematurely ended his season.
The Bears enter Sunday with a record of 5-10. The Vikings come in at 6-9.
How to watch
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
When: 1 p.m. ET
Announcers: Dick Stockton, Brady Quinn
Online streaming: Verizon NFL Mobile
The Vikings are 7-point favorites according to OddsShark.