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The Weekend Bears Den: December 27, 2014 - Week 17 Chicago Bears news & Bears-Vikings previews

O Weekend Den / Many articles linked / Plus, pithy comments and cheerleader pics.

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - Larry discusses the next Bears Hall of Famer, how the Bears fared at the Metrodome, and the team's biggest Pro Bowl snub.

Trestman era a coaching experiment that blows up on Bears - Rich Campbell: Losing has created a toxic dysfunction inside Halas Hall and derailed Marc Trestman's program. Now, ownership faces critical decisions about how to steer the organization forward.

Aftermath of expected purge will determine George McCaskey's legacy - David Haugh: Whatever it is they think they're doing at 1920 Football Drive in Lake Forest isn't working.

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Previewing Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings

Game preview - Dan Wiederer's look at storylines heading into Sunday's game: All await the coming turmoil after Bears finale.

Game preview - Larry Mayer and Mini-Larry discuss the Bears players they'll be watching on both sides of the ball in Sunday's away game against the Vikings.  Stats & Info.

Game preview - Jeff Dickerson takes a look at how the two teams match up.

Game preview - Dan Durkin's five matchups to follow.  Marc Trestman: 'We’ve done our best.'

Game notes - Patrick Finley with thoughts and questions going into Sunday's game.

Game preview - Jeff Joniak's keys to the game.

Game notes - Brad Biggs: Bears O-line has remained stout in pass protection despite injuries that have led to nine combinations; Teddy Bridgewater could be thorn in Bears' side for years.

Injury news - Michael C. Wright: Robbie Gould closes out the season missing four consecutive games, while Chris Conte will miss his third straight outing.

Know thy enemy - Mini-Larry: While this season didn't go exactly as planned, the Vikings are optimistic about their future, thanks to some young talent and their first-year head coach.

Know thy enemy - Dan Wiederer: Vikings feeling heightened confidence from Teddy Bridgewater while, despite the losses, the season has widely been viewed as an upturn by folks in Minnesota.

Know thy enemy - Brad Biggs compiles a scouting report on corner Xavier Rhodes.

Updated 19.25 CT / 01.25 GMT:

Game preview - Michael C. Wright, Ben Goessling: The matchup will feature the same two QBs as the teams' Nov. 16 meeting, but Teddy Bridgewater and Jay Cutler are headed in very different directions.

[Video] SportsTalk Live - Should the Bears be starting Jay Cutler in Week 17?

Game preview - Dan Durkin: Considering both of these teams need more talent to push their programs along, Sunday’s game will put a ‘W’ in the left-hand column for one team, but it will also slide them down the draft order next spring.

Game preview - Is-Hub Arkush: This could be the final game as a Bear for the entire coaching staff and a significant number of players. How focused they’ll be in light of that reality is anyone’s guess.

Game preview - Moon Mullin: At some point on Sunday, the Bears may field an entire front seven in only their first or second NFL seasons at their positions. And when the Bears are in nickel, three of the five DBs.

X&Os - Matt Bowen: Bears can use the pick route to create a one-on-one situation for Matt Forte on the quick rail concept versus Vikings man-coverage scheme.

[Video] - Jeff Joniak previews his four Keys to the Game.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Ben Goessling: The Vikings have only three healthy linebackers on the active roster, so they could make some moves before Sunday.

Game picks - National and local media outlets make their picks for Sunday's game between the Bears (5-10) and Vikings (6-9) in Minnesota. More fromESPN Chicago ... Sun-Times ... ... [Video] NFL Live ... Moon Mullin.

[Video] - A roundup of players and coaches speaking throughout the week as the Bears prepare to take on the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday.

[Video] - Trailer for the Bears match-up with the Vikings in Minnesota.

Photos - Photos from practice this week at Halas Hall as the team prepares for Sunday's game.

Know thy enemy - brings you a photo gallery preview of the Vikings' starters.

Updated Sunday 09.30 CT / 15.30 GMT

Game preview - Larry Mayer: The Bears will look to snap a four-game losing streak when they close the season by visiting the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium.

Game preview - Adam L. Jahns: In their own words, five Bears and five Vikings to watch in Week 17.

Game notes - Bob LeGere: For Bears' Forte, it's always team first; Teddy Bridgewater coming of age; Bears' top-ranked kick coverage unit looking to stop Cordarrelle Patterson.

Some Bears coaches fear firings - Michael C. Wright: While it comes as no surprise given the team's struggles, at least three members of the coaching staff expect Marc Trestman and the staff to be let go after the regular-season finale.

The case for and against keeping Emery - Adam Hoge: If the McCaskeys believe Phil Emery deserves one more year, do they really want to bring in a new head coach at the same time the GM enters 2015 on an extremely hot seat?

Kyle Long already good and getting better - Bob LeGere: If he can make back-to-back Pro Bowls in his first two seasons after starting four games of major-college football, how far can he go?


Roster news - Larry Mayer: Roberto Garza will return to the Bears for an eleventh season in 2015, after signing a one-year contract extension Friday.  Adam L. JahnsA sign that Phil Emery will stay as GM?

Forte remains driven by team goals - Larry Mayer: Matt Forte can make history in Sunday’s season finale, but breaking the NFL record for most receptions by a running back is not his primary concern.

Team notes - Not-Hub Fishbain: Bears hold final practice of 2014 season; Martellus Bennett fined for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from Lions game; injury updates.

Bears' D among NFL's best-behaved - Moon Mullin: The Bears defense didn't accomplish much, if anything, in 2014. But while general Bears on-field discipline was lacking – as reflected in penalties increasing from 85 to 105, with one game remaining – the defense was not part of that problem, at least.

One final game, but then the real news starts - Mark Potash: All that’s left now is Black Monday and the extent of changes that will be made after a dismal season. But the show must go on. So while we anticipate and speculate, the Bears have one last job to do.

Bears once offered high hopes for 2014; no, really - Rick Morrissey: The Bears are 5-10 heading into their last game of the season, but that record doesn’t begin to describe how damaged and defective they have been this year.

QB market offers little hope, as usual - Adam Schefter: Many teams will seek a QB upgrade in 2015, but most of those searches will be fruitless [...but the Bears will still pay another team draft pick(s) to help said team upgrade by taking Jay Cutler off their hands in an otherwise pretty fruitless market for QBs? OK, Schefty.]

Updated 19.25 CT / 01.25 GMT:

[Video] SportsTalk Live - Does Garza extension mean Emery stays?

Key moments from 2014 season - Laurence Holmes with some moments that were important throughout the season: Looking back, it seems like they were harbingers of the disaster yet to come.

[Video] SportsTalk Live - Would Jim Harbaugh be a good fit for the Bears?

[Video] SportsTalk Live - Jim Miller, on the state of the Bears.

[Video] - Robbie Gould answers three Christmas themed questions for this weeks[sic] edition of 3 And Out.

Photos: Top 10 cold weather games - With it expected to be freezing on Sunday in Minnesota, a look at the 10 most recent games the Bears have played with the temperature below 32 degrees.

Photos - celebrates recent birthdays of Jordan Mills and Tim Jennings with photos of their time with the Bears.

Check WCGer Sackman's selection of Bears-themed tops here, or some t-shirt designs here.

Polish sausage

Where will Jim Harbaugh end up? - Greg Gabriel: Given the current structure of the Bears, more than just Marc Trestman being fired would have to happen.

Know thy enemies - Rob Demovsky and Michael Rothstein with a look ahead at the NFC North division title showdown between the Lions and Packers ... Onus on Packers' line, run game vs Lions.

Cheerleaders - The best of week 16 (and a potential future Mrs Spongie) from