But when Cairo Santos’ 30-yard field goal sailed through the uprights with 10 seconds to play, the Bears emerged with a thing of beauty: their first NFC North win in more than two years.
The Bears defense intercepted Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs four times to fuel a 12-10 victory, the first divisional win of the Matt Eberflus era after the coach started 0-9. The Bears have two opportunities left to get another NFC North win, on Dec. 10 against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field and Jan. 7 against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
The Bears (4-8) have a bye in Week 13 before the Lions game.
After losing two fourth-quarter fumbles, Bears quarterback Justin Fields engineered the winning scoring drive. On third-and-10 from the Vikings 49-yard line, Fields hit DJ Moore for a 36-yard pass up the middle. Santos hit his fourth field goal after three Fields kneel-downs.
The Vikings took a 10-9 lead on Dobbs’ 17-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Hockenson with 5 minutes, 54 seconds to play. But after Fields’ second fumble, a defensive stop gave the Bears one last chance to win it.
The Bears defense did much of the work to keep the game close all night.
Jaylon Johnson, Jaquan Brisker, T.J. Edwards and Kyler Gordon picked off Dobbs, but the Bears managed just three points off the takeaways. They punted after the Johnson and Brisker interceptions in the first half.
Santos made a 55-yard field goal after Edwards’ pick. He also made field goals of 25 and 39 yards after missing a 48-yard attempt wide right on the opening drive.
Fields lost a fumble after Gordon’s pick when Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter got the strip-sack, and Sheldon Day recovered. The Vikings then marched 77 yards for the only touchdown of the game.
Fields’ second fumble — forced by Josh Metellus and recovered by Anthony Barr — came on the Bears’ next drive.
Fields completed 27 of 37 passes for 217 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and three sacks. He ran 12 times for 59 yards.
Dobbs was 22 of 32 for 185 yards with the touchdown and the four interceptions. The Bears had two sacks.