Previewing tonight’s Vikings-Bears matchup on Week 5 Monday Night Football:
Changing quarterbacks doesn’t change the fact that the Bears have no one to throw to. But it’s easy to see why John Fox is starting Mitchell Trubisky ahead of Mike Glennon tonight. Glennon hasn’t been awful, but he’s made a handful of bonehead plays each game, with many resulting in turnovers. If the Bears are going to have those, they might as well come from Trubisky. At least then they can be chalked up as learning experiences.
More than ball security, though, Trubisky’s style better fits Chicago’s offense. With no receivers but a terrific zone running game, the Bears are suited to use moving pockets and bootlegs. Trubisky is much more mobile than Glennon and showed excellent vision when on the move at North Carolina.
When discussing this stingy Vikings defense, we tend to mention the pass rush and double-A-gap pressure concepts—but really, it’s the back seven that makes it hum. Linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr can cover, Xavier Rhodes is a physical shutdown corner and safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo have tremendous awareness in zone (and as a result, they play fast).
Yes, Minnesota’s No. 2 corner situation has been somewhat dicey lately. The talented Trae Waynes has struggled with his technique early on, particularly against vertical routes, and Terence Newman is sagacious, but at 39, he’s more prone to giving up separation. Both men were sturdy against Detroit, though, and neither will have trouble with Chicago’s receivers. Trubisky will be forced to hold the ball on many third downs.
Minnesota’s Adam Thielen is the NFL’s most improved wide receiver over the past two years. A refined route runner, he is flourishing in a Pat Shurmur offense that’s predicated on interlaced route combinations. Thielen is mostly playing from the slot this year, with Stefon Diggs operating outside. Expect to see these guys on deep crossing routes.
Bold prediction: Both Thielen and Diggs will have over 80 yards receiving for the Vikings.