Points on the Purple: Chicago has been unkind to Vikings
FELDMAN: Here we are, Helmet Hair, reminded once again that as Minnesota sports fans, we can’t have nice things. At least the Lynx have kept us slightly sane. The Twins were fun for 162 games, the Wild opened their season with a thud, and our Purple laid an egg against a division rival last week while losing the most promising rookie the franchise has had in some time. Another rival awaits tonight, and no matter how bad the Bears are, Soldier Field is always a black hole for the Vikings.
LIMBECK: It seems to be one sigh after another when it comes to the Vikings. Running back Dalvin Cook was off to a tremendous start to his career. And now, because of an ACL injury, his rookie season is over after just four games. I feel horrible for Cook, but Vikings fans might remember rookie linebacker Chad Greenway blowing out his knee in his first exhibition game, and he rebounded to have an outstanding career. But Vikings fans have to be wondering what will go wrong next. It’s always something. And then something else. Speaking of something, wouldn’t it be a nice surprise if quarterback Sam Bradford returned tonight in Chicago?
FELDMAN: While I’m not holding my breath waiting for Bradford to run out of the tunnel with the starters, it would give the offense an emotional boost, for sure. While we saw the best of Case Keenum two weeks ago, we also saw last week the reasons why he isn’t a full-time starter in the NFL. Bradford at 75 or 80 percent is a much better option. If the line can continue to give the QB time, Bradford can make plays. But the Vikings need some semblance of a running game, to provide some balance. Latavius Murray looked like he wouldn’t beat me in a foot race last week.
LIMBECK: Murray had foot surgery after he joined the Vikings as a free agent, and he still looks less than 100 percent. Hopefully he continues to emerge and gets into playing shape as the season goes on. He is a big back (about 6-3, 225) and most likely to be the featured back from now on. The Vikings have to be able to keep moving the ball on the ground to have a successful offense. One thing the Vikings can do, is bag the stupid Wild Cat. Last week they used the formation for one disastrous play, and it changed the entire outcome when Jerrick McKinnon fumbled early in the third quarter.
FELDMAN: McKinnon has had so many chances to make himself stand out and, aside from a couple of long runs when the Vikings still were playing outdoors, he has done little to earn the respect of opposing defenses. But he’ll have to be a big part of the rushing attack going forward the rest of the season. Stevan Ridley strikes even less fear into the hearts of opposing defenses. On a positive note, the Vikings’ D held a very good offense and opposing QB to 14 points — 11 of which were gift-wrapped by Vikings turnovers.
LIMBECK: Speaking of quarterbacks, the Vikings will face rookie Mitch Trubisky tonight. Trubisky, the No. 2 pick in the draft, is making his first start in the NFL in place of inept Mike Glennon. The Bears couldn’t let Glennon play one more week? Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has got to use a lot of different looks and schemes to try and fool the inexperienced Trubisky. It should seem like an easy thing for the tough Vikings defense to do. But you just know a lot of Vikings fans are thinking: Oh great, his first start he’ll come in and light the Vikings up.
FELDMAN: That’s what EVERY Vikings fan is thinking. Or should be. I don’t know how much fault Glennon can accept for an offense that has no weapons for him to throw to, but Trubisky figured out a way to light it up in the preseason. That said, Zimmerman thrives on these situations, and the Vikings’ D does too, making life painful for a young QB. We can’t call this a must-win, but in many ways it is. The Purple can’t lose this game, with the Evil Empire coming to town next week: Vikings 19, Bears 12.
LIMBECK: Well, Captain Purple, the Vikings have gone to Chicago numerous times before with fans thinking, ‘They can’t lose this game,’ yet they somehow do. The Bears haven’t been that great for the past 15-plus years, but for some reason the Vikings always play lousy in Chicago. The Vikings are 2-14 in Illinois the past 16 years. The Bears have played much better at home this season, but I agree with you on this one — the Vikings have to find a way to win: Vikings 23, Bears 16.