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The Vikings have a pivotal matchup this week where the team can notch their record back to .500 and start a late surge towards the 2021 postseason. And an NFC North rival gets to possibly play spoiler.
Minnesota heads to Chicago to take on the Bears on Monday night. At 4-9, the Bears have not had a lot of things go their way, especially recently. Chicago has been hit hard by COVID-19 protocol, so it remains to be seen who is in the starting lineup for the team.
Vikings Wire attempts to parse that, all while giving three matchups to watch in Week 15:
Akiem Hicks vs. the Vikings interior offensive line
Photo: AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn
Hicks, who was a full participant in practice on Thursday, could be ready to face the Vikings in Week 15. If so, he could give the streaky Minnesota interior offensive line fits.
Recently, the core of LG Ezra Cleveland, C Garrett Bradbury and RG Mason Cole has held their own. Hicks had three QB pressures the last time these two teams faced off in 2020. The new-look interior for Minnesota will be tested in Chicago.
CB Jaylon Johnson vs. WR Justin Jefferson
Photo: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports
With Adam Thielen’s playing status in doubt for Week 15, the Vikings need Jefferson to step up. The Bears would be wise to put Johnson on Minnesota’s top wide receiver.
Johnson has a PFF grade of 66.1 this year. He recently called out the Bears locker room for quitting. Johnson has to back up his talk by not letting up against one of the best pass catchers in the league.
Matt Nagy vs. Mike Zimmer
Photo: AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King
The Bears currently have all three coordinators going through COVID-19 protocol. It’s not a given, but it’s within the realm of possibility that Nagy will be calling plays in Week 15.
With Zimmer calling defensive plays and Nagy possibly on offensive play-calling duties, this should be a heated matchup between two coaches on the hot seat. How will Zimmer stop the Bears offense? Will Nagy pull out any tricks now that he doesn’t have much to lose? This matchup — if it comes to fruition — will certainly be interesting.