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These Minnesota Vikings are in desperate need of a bye week

The Vikings get a break after the Monday Night Football matchup with the Chicago Bears.

The Minnesota Vikings return home to face the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football knowing it will be followed by an extended break as the team takes its bye in Week 13.

The Vikings stand 6-5 after eleven grueling, tightly-contested weeks, and it can be argued that the break will come at the right time as they prepare for a final push for a playoff spot.

The bye week will be particularly welcome for the following players, who need t

Josh Dobbs

Still just weeks into his Vikings odyssey, the Vikings quarterback needs every off-day possible to get up-to-speed on the playbook and in synch with the rest of the offense.

After two flying-by-the-seat-of-his pants wins over the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, the Dobbs-led Vikings came back down to Earth with a 21-20 loss at Denver on Sunday. 

While turnovers were the main culprit, it was clear that Dobbs needs more time to gel with the offense particularly on passing plays.

T.J. Hockenson

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) is pursued by New Orleans Saints cornerback Alontae Taylor (1) during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium.

T.J. Hockenson vs. the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The tight end has really stepped up since Dobbs was thrust into the spotlight, becoming the quarterback's favorite target over the past few weeks.

But he has taken a serious pummeling by opposing defenses after the catch, and has been battling through a rib injury since the Saints game. 

Pending any injury updates Wednesday, Hockenson is expected to play against Chicago, and should be able to make use of the 13-day break to get back to top fitness.

Justin Jefferson and Akayleb Evans

For the third week running, Jefferson is being considered "questionable" ahead of the Vikings' next game, and in the past two weeks he was ultimately scratched as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Will the Vikings risk him against Chicago before entering the bye? On the one hand the Bears are a team the Vikings are expected to beat so why risk him? On the other, Chicago looked much better against the Detroit Lions with Justin Fields returning and arguably should have won, and the Vikings know how crucial beating the Bears is for their playoff hopes.

The star receiver told a Sunday Night Football sideline reporter during the Broncos that the reason he's not back yet is because he's making sure his speed and endurance has recovered. On Tuesday he called out fantasy football players messaging him about his injury/their teams, posting on Twitter: "My health is wayyyy more important than you winning your fantasy games. It doesn't matter how many times y'all flood my dms talking about me selling your team. I DONT CARE."

Whether the Vikings play him Monday or not, a week's extra rest afterwards would certainly help.

Evans is in a similar situation in that he's not being explicitly ruled out of Monday's game, but remains questionable. Evans has been the Vikings' highest-graded cornerback, so getting him back to full fitness will be vital for the run-in.

Ed Ingram

In a season in which the Vikings offensive line has been otherwise excellent, Ingram struggled at right guard during Sunday's loss at the Denver Broncos, posting a PFF rating of just 56.0 in pass protection and 55.9 in run blocking.

The offensive line ultimately allowed seven hurries and two QB hits on Dobbs. We'll know more from Monday's game whether the Vikings' O-line is fatiguing after 12 straight weeks of games, but Kevin O'Connell and Dobbs will need the line back to full effectiveness from Week 14 onwards.

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