The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings play a meaningful regular season finale on Sunday in the twin cities.
The Week 17 tilt against the Minnesota Vikings was moved to 4:25 ET on Sunday afternoon because, for the bad guys, this game means a whole heck of a lot. If the Vikings win, they are in. If they lose, they better pray the Philadelphia Eagles lose to the injury-ridden Washington Redskins.
Speaking of injuries, both of these teams will likely be without some significant names on Sunday. For the Bears, it is a trio of players featuring two household names. Wide receiver Allen Robinson, safety Eddie Jackson and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch are all listed as doubtful for Sunday afternoon.
The most impactful name on that list, of course, is Jackson. This is the guy who took center stage in the Bears’ first matchup with Minnesota, returning a late interception for a touchdown. He is arguably the best safety in all of football, and while he continues to nurse a sprained ankle, the Bears’ secondary will have to step up in a big way.
On the Vikings’ side, their secondary could be missing a big name as well. Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes is listed as questionable with a groin injury. Rhodes has found his name amongst the top corners in the league for the last couple of seasons, and without him, the Vikings’ secondary will be hurting.
Aside from Rhodes, the Vikings will definitely be without linebacker Eric Kendricks, who has been nursing a hamstring injury. Cornerback Marcus Sherels has also been ruled out. Kendricks, one of the Vikings’ starting linebackers, leads the team in tackles this year with 108. Sherels, meanwhile, is one of the better return men in the league.
Back to the Bears. Without Robinson, it could end up being the Anthony Miller show. In their last matchup, Miller scored one of his seven touchdowns on the season. He has had a nose for the end zone when the Bears get into the red zone, and if Robinson indeed sits this one out, the stage will be set for Miller yet again.
This game doesn’t mean as much to the Bears as it does the Vikings, but you better believe head coach Matt Nagy still wants to win. Based on his comments this week, I have a feeling these Bears are on a mission to try and do their part in knocking their division rival out of the playoffs.