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Opponent breakdown: Vikings


Following two tough home losses, the Bears (5-8) head back to the road to take on a longtime division rival, the Minnesota Vikings (8-5). Here's a breakdown of Chicago's Week 15 opponent:

What's new: The Vikings knew they needed to provide more weapons for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Few, however, expected the team's fifth-round pick to be that person. Stefon Diggs, a rookie out of Maryland, has been the exact type of playmaker the Vikings needed. He leads the team in receiving yards with 638, and his 14.5 yards per catch is the most on the team of anyone with more than five catches. Though not especially big, Diggs has found ways to get open, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner has developed ways for Bridgewater to feed the rookie with room to make plays.

What's old: Terrence Newman has played both cornerback and safety for the Vikings this season, but no matter where he lines up, Newman has been a playmaker. The 37-year old leads Minnesota with three interceptions and 11 passes defensed, proving he can still make a play on the ball in his 13th professional season. Where Newman lines up versus the Bears depends on the health of some of his teammates, but no matter where it is, he's bound to be near the football.

Last time out: In last Thursday's game, Minnesota fell behind by 10 points to Arizona in the fourth quarter before Bridgewater rallied the team back. The second-year quarterback led the Vikings on two scoring drives in fewer than eight minutes, tying the game with just under five minutes to play. However, that was too much time for the NFC West-leading Cardinals. Arizona drove down the field and hit a go-ahead field goal with 1:23 remaining to move ahead 23-20. Bridgewater had one final chance, but a strip-sack in the final seconds ended the game and gave Minnesota its second straight loss.

Series history: The Vikings hold a 56-51-2 all-time lead in the series against the Bears, including a 23-20 victory at Solider Field in Week 8. Sunday's game will be the third and likely final time the teams play at TCF Bank Stadium, as the Vikings are preparing to move into their new stadium in 2016. The clubs have split two previous meetings there, with Chicago winning in 2010 and Minnesota winning in 2014.

Injury report: Even though the team has been off since last Thursday, the Vikings are beat up on defense. Safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr, two of the three leading tacklers on the team, both missed the Arizona game. Smith, who has a sore hamstring, is the key to Minnesota's secondary. Barr, a second-year pass rusher, is out with a groin injury. Their status for Sunday's game is unknown.

Schemes and tendencies: Running back Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing, with 1,251 yards through 13 games. If he were to hold on to that lead, it would be Peterson's third rushing title of his career, as he also accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2012. The bruising back is one of the league's best at doing damage early in drives. Minnesota has run the ball 201 times on first-and-10 this season, third-most in the NFL, and has gained 968 yards on those plays, also good for third in the league. Peterson's responsible for most of that. In 2015, on first-and-10, he has 163 carries for 817 yards, good for 5.0 yards per carry. His work early helps keep things manageable for the entire Vikings offense.

Did you know?: There's something about the purple and gold of the Vikings that makes Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery play well. In four career games against Minnesota, Jeffery has 602 receiving yards and five touchdowns, both of which are his highs against any opponent in the league.

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