NFC North: 2013 Week 13 CHI at MIN Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings

December, 1, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 23-20 overtime win over the Chicago Bears:

What it means: After what easily was the Vikings' most bizarre victory of the season, they improved to 3-8-1 and are now 2-1-1 in their past four games. The game could have ended earlier in overtime, but Rhett Ellison's face mask penalty negated Blair Walsh's field goal and pushed the ball back 15 yards; two plays later, Walsh missed from 57 yards as the haze from the Vikings' victory fireworks still hung under the Metrodome roof. After Robbie Gould missed from 47 yards, Walsh got another chance and hit the winner from 34 yards out.

Stock watch: Rising: Matt Cassel. After Christian Ponder was knocked out of the game just before halftime with a concussion, Cassel ignited the Vikings' offense, completing 17 of 29 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown in the second half and driving the Vikings 79 yards for a game-tying field goal with less than a minute left. The Vikings might have won in regulation, too, if Ellison had been able to corral Cassel's pass near the goal line instead of deflecting it to Tim Jennings for an interception. Minnesota has considered Cassel a backup for most of the season, choosing to start Ponder and Josh Freeman, but Cassel might have changed that conversation with what he did on Sunday. He hit Greg Jennings for the receiver's third touchdown of the season -- all from Cassel -- and managed to get the Vikings' offense working quickly with a 10-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.

Peterson hits 10,000 yards: The run that put him over 10,000 career yards was an Adrian Peterson classic: With the Vikings facing fourth-and-1 on the Bears' 31-yard line, Peterson surged for 19 yards, breaking tackles all the way down to Chicago's 12. It put him at 156 yards for the day, and made him the third-fastest to hit 10,000 yards in just 101 career games. And what's scary is Peterson could have had more if he'd been completely healthy; he looked on several runs like he didn't have his usual burst, missing opportunities to turn double-digit gains into long scoring runs. But Peterson still had his biggest day of the year, and made some history in the process.

Patterson makes history: Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson scored on a 33-yard run in the second quarter, becoming the first Vikings rookie to score a touchdown three different ways. He had his first receiving touchdown on Nov. 7 against Washington, and has run two kickoffs back for touchdowns this year.

Cook ejected: Cornerback Chris Cook was ejected in the third quarter for making contact with an official on Alshon Jeffery's 46-yard touchdown. Cook had given up Jeffery's 80-yard touchdown just after halftime, and was talking to officials two plays earlier, when he believed Jeffery should have been called for offensive pass interference while trying to break up an interception.

What's next: The Vikings (3-8-1) travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens next Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Chicago Bears

December, 1, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Chicago Bears' 23-20 overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings:

What it means: The Bears fell farther behind the Detroit Lions in contention for the NFC North title with the loss to the Vikings. Based on the way the season is shaping up, and Chicago’s NFC record (3-6), the Bears need to win the division for a chance to advance to the postseason. Chicago’s prospects for a wild-card spot look dim.

Jeffery on fire: Second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery produced his second 200-plus-yard outing of the season against the Vikings, hauling in 12 receptions for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Jeffery’s 80-yard touchdown 52 seconds into the third quarter made him the club’s first 1,000-yard receiver of the season and marked the first 1,000-yard season in his NFL career.

Mixed reviews for revamped front: Jeremiah Ratliff made his Chicago debut and Stephen Paea rejoined the lineup coming off a turf-toe injury. Their presence in the lineup allowed the Bears to utilize some creativity that yielded results in the pass-rushing department, but much of the same against the run.

Paea and Corey Wootton lined up inside at tackle with Shea McClellin and Julius Peppers playing the defensive end spots. Ratliff entered with 10:57 left in the first quarter and nearly sacked Christian Ponder on his first snap. That extra inside presence allowed the Bears to move Wootton outside to play opposite Peppers. At times, the Bears even used Peppers inside next to Ratliff with Wootton and McClellin at the end positions. The diversity helped the Bears snuff out Minnesota’s first three drives with sacks, two from Peppers and one other sack split between Paea and nickel corner Isaiah Frey.

Against the run, however, Chicago continued to struggle. The Bears experienced success early against Adrian Peterson. But the running back broke the century mark early in the third quarter and finished with a season-high 211 yards.

Milestone: Matt Forte took a handoff in the first quarter and reeled off a 16-yard gain to move into second place in franchise history in yards from scrimmage. Forte passed Neal Anderson to take second place behind Walter Payton, who gained 21,264 yards from scrimmage from 1975 to '87. Forte rushed for 120 yards and caught two passes for 31 yards.

What’s next: The Bears take the day off from practice on Monday and Tuesday before beginning preparations Wednesday to host the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field for a Dec. 9 matchup on "Monday Night Football." With the Cowboys having played on Thanksgiving, the Bears will be facing a well-rested team.