It’s difficult to think of the Vikings as a Bears “rival,” really.
Whereas even despite the one-sided affair that Chicago-Green Bay has become, you can still feel tinges of hatred, and Detroit has its customary passionate fanbase, despite the relentless waves of losing, Minnesota’s an afterthought. A team with eye-popping, if transcendent talent — Justin Jefferson, for one — but a team that never truly matters or gets the good old blood boiling.
This isn’t to say that the Bears matter. They, for the moment and for a long time, have not. It’s more that the Vikings and what feels like a Little Brother syndrome are never even in the remote purview. A status they seem to enjoy, per my amateur psychological analysis.
Since making a surprise run to the NFC Championship Game in 2017, the Vikings have not ascended to that platform again. They thought they had their quarterback who could take them there again and again and again, Kirk Cousins, and guaranteed him compensation as such. Take no deeper look, and you’d agree with their initial assessment.
It was a bold move then and now, but worthwhile.
118 touchdowns. A mere 34 interceptions. A stellar almost 3.5 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio. Nearly 16,000 yards passing. Elite numbers by any rational observer’s standard. And yet, Minnesota continues to be the epitome of a water treader. In Cousins’ almost four full seasons with the Vikings, they’ve won a mere 32 games and qualified for the postseason just once. Naturally, there hasn’t been advancement in the said postseason either.
Something has got to give, right?
I’m not a proponent of Quarterback Winz. I never will be. I support the Bears, for heaven’s sake. I should know better. When a franchise is stuck in neutral or in the muck, it’s too reductive to put everything on a quarterback’s plate. There are too many other extenuating factors in most cases.
But what does it say about Cousins and the Vikings, who, numbers-wise, are getting special quarterback play, arguably better than they’ve ever had, regardless of the era? Are the veteran’s stats hollow and misleading, perhaps because the Vikings throw all the time? Is he, are they, frontrunners, for lack of a better term? Is it all of the above? I can’t say for sure, as I’m not in that building every day.
But, indeed, there is an apparent disconnect up in St. Paul with Mike Zimmer and his regime. If the Vikings know what’s good for them, they will do well to start finding the culprits behind their perennial underachieving. For a team just outside the playoff picture right now, every piece of self-evaluation counts. And even if I don’t particularly feel things for the Vikings, it’d be nice if the Bears and Justin Fields could play spoiler and drag the men in purple down with them despite their own ongoing tailspin. Two Bears games in the final month of the 2021 season will offer such a delightful opportunity.
Misery does love company, after all.
Windy City Gridiron picks Bears-Vikings on Monday Night Football and every other NFL game in Week 15.
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