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Vikings right ship with win over hapless Bears

Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball and is tackled by Chicago Bears defensive tackle Justin Jones (93) during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Mattison ran for two touchdowns and Greg Joseph kicked three field goals to boost the visiting Minnesota Vikings to a 29-13 victory against the Chicago Bears on Sunday to remain in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Minnesota, the NFC North champion, rebounded from last week’s lopsided loss at Green Bay, outgaining Chicago 482-259. The Vikings (13-4) entered the week seeded third in the conference but could climb to the No. 2 spot with a San Francisco loss to Arizona later Sunday.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins went 17-for-20 passing for 225 yards and a touchdown in the first half before yielding to backup Nick Mullens to rest for the playoffs.

Chicago (3-14) closed the season on a 10-game losing streak, continuing the longest slide in the franchise’s 123 seasons. The Bears suffered 14 losses for the first time in their history after last losing as many as 13 games in 2016.

The NFL expanded the schedule to 17 games from 16 last season.

With backup Nathan Peterman starting at quarterback as Josh Fields (strained hip) was sidelined due to injury, the Bears’ attack scuffled. Chicago trailed 16-0 before getting on the scoreboard on a 42-yard Velus Jones touchdown run. The two-point conversion attempt failed.

Peterman connected with Cole Kmet for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 4:07 to play in the third quarter, but the Vikings responded with Joseph’s 50-yard field goal. He capped the scoring with a 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Mattison gained 54 yards on 10 carries. Mullens was 11-for-13 for 116 yards and an interception, while K.J. Osborn had 117 yards on five receptions.

Peterman was 11-for-19 for 114 yards and a score. Khalil Herbert led the Bears’ ground game with 50 yards on 10 carries, while Kmet was the top receiver with 57 yards on four catches.

The Vikings, who edged the visiting Bears 29-22 in Week 5, earned a sweep of the season series in consecutive years for the first time since 1997-98.

–Field Level Media