Vikings Film Room: Breaking down the Vikings’ 4 touchdowns

After the Vikings tied a season-high with four touchdowns, we broke them all down

The Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 29-22 on Sunday on the backs of the offense. They jumped out to a 21-3 lead with a calculated attack that focused on getting the ball to star receiver Justin Jefferson.

Three different Vikings players got into the end zone including wide receiver Jalen Reagor getting his first touchdown as a member of the Vikings.

Let’s break down each of the Vikings four touchdown plays.

Vikings’ Studs & Duds from Week 5 vs Bears

There were a lot more studs than duds this week for the Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings 29-22 victory over the Chicago Bears elicited a number of great performances from the victors.

The Vikings were the heavy favorites but the way this game played out was inherently surprising, especially considering the Vikings held an 18-point lead in the first half.

The game itself displayed a lot more positive performances than negative ones. Let’s take a look at the studs and duds from week five.

Vikings PFF grades from Week 5 vs Bears came out great

The best and worst PFF grades from the Vikings’ Week 5 clash vs the Bears

The Minnesota Vikings scored a hard-fought victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon by a score of 29-22.

During Sunday’s game, the performances of both individual players and the team were mostly really good. The Vikings proved once again that the offensive line is better than they have had in years.

Let’s take a look at the PFF grades against the Bears.

The Vikings last 2 3-0 NFC North starts ended in division titles

The Vikings’ 3-0 start in the NFC North bodes well historically for the purple and gold

While it hasn’t been the prettiest start for the Minnesota Vikings this season, the record is not reflective of that whatsoever as they sit at 4-1 on the season.

Despite the bumps in the road, the Vikings have found different ways to win each week. This past week was no different where quarterback Kirk Cousins set records for consecutive completions both in totality (18) and to start a game (17).

Leaving the game on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, the Vikings have done something that they haven’t accomplished since 2015: started 3-0 in the NFC North.

Both in 2015 and the time before that the Vikings accomplished the feat in 2009, the Vikings ended up winning the NFC North. They also finished 1-2 in the playoffs with some unfortunate circumstances resulting in their losses.

The interesting part of this for the Vikings? This is the first time in franchise history that a first-time head coach in Kevin O’Connell has started out with a 3-0 record in the division

Things are looking good for the Vikings as they look to improve to 5-1 in Miami on Sunday.

Zulgad: Vikings’ too-close-for-comfort win shows there’s plenty of room for improvement

From @jzulgad: Despite the 4-1 record, the Vikings acknowledge that there is still room for improvement

The first cheers at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday happened before the Vikings’ noon kickoff against the Chicago Bears. The giant scoreboard screens at both ends of the stadium were tuned to the end of the New York Giants’ come-from-behind victory over Green Bay in London. The loss dropped the Packers to 3-2 and presented the Vikings with an opportunity to take a one-game lead, two if tie-breakers are included, on their archrival.

The Vikings looked like they would easily do that as Kirk Cousins set a franchise record by completing his first 17 passes for 176 yards, Justin Jefferson caught 10 passes for 138 yards in the first half and the Vikings took an 18-point lead before the Bears trimmed it to 21-10 at halftime.

Nonetheless, it appeared the Vikings would have their first comfortable win since a 23-7 victory over the Packers in Week 1. But that didn’t come close to being the case as the Bears rallied to take a one-point lead with 9 minutes, 26 seconds left in the fourth quarter and left the Vikings faithful in U.S. Bank Stadium eerily quiet.

The good news, at least for the Vikings, was they responded with a 17-play, 75-yard drive that took 7 minutes and ended with Kirk Cousins’ 1-yard touchdown keeper to give the Vikings a 29-22 victory, a 4-1 record and a perfect 3-0 mark against the NFC North.

The disturbing thing was that the Vikings could and should have made this so much easier. Two weeks ago, against the Lions at home, the Vikings trailed by 10 points after three quarters before rallying with 14 points in the fourth for a 28-24 victory. Last week, the Vikings led the Saints, 16-7, in the second half in London, but fell behind in the fourth quarter before rallying to win on Greg Joseph’s 47-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining.

In both cases Cousins led the winning drives, and he did the same again Sunday. This time Cousins completed 6-of-8 passes for 57 yards and also connected with Jefferson on a two-point conversion pass to push the lead to seven points with 2:29 left.

It’s a good thing first-year coach Kevin O’Connell is only 37, or there might be some concern about how much of this his heart can take.

The Vikings’ start puts them in excellent position to take control of the NFC North, and their odds of going to 5-1 next Sunday in Miami appear favorable with the Dolphins potentially having to start rookie seventh-round quarterback Skylar Thompson. Starter Tua Tagovailoa and backup Teddy Bridgewater are both injured, with Bridgewater being lost in a 40-17 loss Sunday to the Jets.

So what’s wrong with the Vikings, or what’s holding them back from making games a bit less dramatic?

The defense has too often been a weak spot, special teams struggled on Sunday (Greg Joseph missed one field goal and had another blocked) and Cousins threw a fourth-quarter interception that led to the Cairo Santos’ 51-yard field goal giving the Bears the lead.

O’Connell comes across as a perennially positive guy, but if he’s afraid his team is getting too cocky, there is no shortage of miscues he can show them so they know how far they have to go before truly being considered among the NFL’s elite.

O’Connell chose his words carefully after Sunday’s game when asked about being in first place and whether it means anything special.

“No, it really doesn’t. I just think it just means that we’re 4-1 after five games,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot about our team through five games, but I think what we’ve learned should really help us do two things in my mind: Have confidence moving forward that we can win football games that are hard-fought and competitive in this league, but ultimately that we can still continue to chase consistency across the board playing our philosophical way that we think we can win a lot of football games with.”

It’s the consistency part on which the Vikings need work. The NFL is filled with mediocre teams that play close games — the league sells this as parity — but when a team like the Vikings jumps in front of a bottom-feeder like the Bears, they need to deliver a knockout punch, not an invitation to stick around.

“We need to play better for four quarters,” said Cousins, who finished 32-of-41 for 296 yards with a touchdown and interception but only completed two passes to Jefferson in the second half. “We need to play better through the stretch of the game so that we can pull away and not live in these games in the last two minutes. So that will be the challenge moving forward. If we were to get out ahead of someday. How can we just pull away and not linger?”

Whether the Vikings will be good enough to find that gear this season is the real question. O’Connell is still trying to figure out things. Of course, with the NFC having so few dominant teams, there is going to be an urgency for O’Connell to fix his team’s flaws and do more than qualify for the playoffs.

O’Connell undoubtedly had started work on finding those solutions Sunday night as his players celebrated their latest victory. His satisfaction with the Vikings’ start only outweighed by the knowledge that his team isn’t close to hitting on all cylinders.

Judd Zulgad is co-host of the Purple Daily Podcast and Mackey & Judd podcast at

The Vikings were dynamite on third downs vs Bears

The Vikings were great in situational football on Sunday.

The Minnesota Vikings have shown a lot of struggles in situational football. While they beat the Chicago Bears 29-22 on Sunday, they did so mainly due to their success on third downs. In a piece earlier this week where Alyssa Barbieri from Bears Wire and I broke down who had the advantage on Sunday, I wrote about the Vikings’ struggles in situational football.

The Vikings are the best in the NFL at converting first downs on early downs but sit at 28th in the NFL on third downs. One of the reasons for the lack of success has been the indecisiveness in the passing game. That will come as Cousins gets more comfortable. Same with the red zone where the Vikings are 25th in the league in converting just seven out of 15 attempts. The defense has been much better in situational football ranking 12th in third-down percentage but a low 28th in red zone percentage.”

The Vikings played much better than that on Sunday. They were an outstanding 12-15 (80%) on third down on Sunday, including an excellent 5-5 on the final drive. Going into the game, the Vikings were only 15-48 on the season.

On defense, they were solid allowing only 4-10 third down conversions, but they did allow their only fourth down attempt.

Converting situational football and not giving the ball away will significantly improve your chances of winning.

Best photos from the Vikings 29-22 win over the Bears

The best pictures from the Vikings’ Sunday’s win against the Chicago Bears

The Minnesota Vikings scraped by the Chicago Bears 29-22 after blowing an 18-point lead with the Bears scoring 19 consecutive points to take the lead.

The Vikings then went on a 17-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:00 off the clock to take the lead for good with a quarterback sneak from Kirk Cousins.

Throughout the game, there were a lot of great pictures that help signify the Vikings’ win over the Bears. Here are the best of the best from Sunday’s game.

Cameron Dantzler called game with strip of former teammate

The Vikings cornerback took matters into his own hands to seal a Vikings victory

The Minnesota Vikings found another way to win a football game, this time doing so by beating the Chicago Bears 29-22 after blowing an 18-point first-half lead.

After the Vikings allowed 19 consecutive points to go down 22-21, the Vikings drove 75 yards in 17 plays to take the lead for good.

Once the Bears got the ball back, they started moving the ball but on the fifth play of the drive, Cameron Dantzler called game and sealed the Vikings victory.

Dantzler got juked out of his shoes by former teammate and 2021 Vikings fifth-round pick Ihmir Smith-Marsette. He stayed cool as a cucumber and kept pursuing Smith-Marsette.

Normally, you don’t want a trailing defender doing nothing and just going for the football. In this scenario, it was smart with two defenders already impeding Smith-Marsette from advancing the ball any farther. Dantzler gets the ball and smartly goes down to seal the win.

Awesome play from Dantzler who is really coming into his own this season.

Vikings RB Chandler breaks thumb: CB Evans in concussion protocol

Two Vikings rookies suffered injuries on Sunday that could keep them out awhile

The Minnesota Vikings found a way to beat the Chicago Bears by a score of 29-22 despite blowing an 18-point first-half lead. Cameron Dantzler saved the day with a strip of Ihmir Smith-Marsette to seal the win for the Vikings.

Unfortunately, the Vikings didn’t escape the game without injuries. While the injuries weren’t to starters, they will be impactful on the depth of the team.

Both injuries happened to rookies, as running back Ty Chandler broke his thumb and cornerback Akayleb Evans is in concussion protocol.

Chandler was playing in just his second game of his young career only getting snaps on special teams. He had a great preseason for the Vikings and there was hope that he would get some playing time this year. He will miss a significant amount of time.

Evans has gotten playing time this season and has played well overall. He did leave the game with the injury and his status will be monitored moving forward.

Vikings blow 18-point lead: Find a way to beat the Bears

The Minnesota Vikings found another way to win an ugly game, beating the Chicago Bears 29-22 after blowing an 18-point lead.

The Minnesota Vikings tried like crazy to give away the game to the Chicago Bears after jumping out to a 21-3 lead early in the game but they came out on top 29-22. The win makes the Vikings the first team to win in London and then win the following week without having a bye.

The first half was immaculate for the Vikings’ offense. Cousins started out with 17 consecutive completions for 176 yards which broke Tommy Kramer’s long-standing record. He was lights out and changing a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage and threw accurate strikes all over the field. In fact, Cousins didn’t throw into one tight window all game long.

Justin Jefferson was also dominant with 12 receptions for 154 yards while also catching a two-point conversion. He set multiple records on the day, including a career-high for catches. Jefferson also completed a pass for 23 yards to Dalvin Cook in setting up a Jalen Reagor touchdown.

The Vikings jumped out to a quick 21-3 lead before quarterback Justin Fields completed a pass to Darnell Mooney at the end of the first half where Mooney made a circus catch to setup a David Montgomery touchdown.

The score was 21-10 at halftime after kicker Greg Joseph missed a field goal. Joseph had a rough day missing both of his field goals.

The second half was rough for the Vikings. The Bears scored the first 12 points of the quarter to take a 22-21 lead. In that time, the Vikings missed a field goal and Cousins threw an interception on a hi/lo read, something he has struggled with over the last few weeks.

The game-winning drive from Cousins and the offense was calculated and efficient. The Vikings went 17 plays totaling 75 yards and 7:00 off the game clock with Cousins getting a sneak to finish the drive.

Once the Bears got the ball back, it only took five plays for the Vikings to finish the game with Cameron Dantzler stripping former Vikings Ihmir Smith-Marsette of the football leading to the victory formation for the purple and gold.

The Vikings have a lot of things to clean up after improving their record to 4-1 in their third-straight ugly win. Up next is the Miami Dolphins who had to play their third-string quarterback due to injuries in a 40-17 loss to the New York Jets.