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The Week Ahead: Bears prep to host Vikings

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Two days after their Monday night win over the Redskins, the Bears return to the practice field Wednesday to continue preparing for Sunday's home game against the Vikings.

After a season-opening loss to the Packers, the Bears have won two straight. In a 31-15 victory in Washington, their defense generated five takeaways and one touchdown, and Mitchell Trubisky threw three TD passes—all to receiver Taylor Gabriel in a 6:17 span of the second quarter.

The Vikings have opened the season by beating the Falcons 28-12 at home, losing to the Packers 21-16 in Green Bay and defeating the Raiders 34-14 at home. The Bears and Minnesota are tied for third place in the NFC North behind the Packers (3-0) and Lions (2-0-1).

The Vikings are the only NFL team that is averaging more yards rushing (193.7) than passing (164.7). They rank second in the league in rushing and Dalvin Cook, their third-year running back from Florida State, tops the NFL in rushing with 375 yards on 57 carries, a 6.6-yard average.

Storyline of the week
In a game that coach Matt Nagy described Tuesday as a "buckle-your-chinstrap type deal," the Bears will look to even their division record at 1-1 after a Week 1 loss to the Packers. The Bears defeated the Vikings 25-20 last Nov. 18 in a battle for first place in the NFC North.

"I felt like last year when we played these guys at home, that was kind of to me the turning point of our season where I felt like we got a big win," Nagy said.

Injuries to monitor
Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, who recorded 2.5 sacks and six tackles-for-loss in two games against the Vikings last season, exited Monday night's win over the Redskins with a knee injury.

"I don't think it's anything serious," Nagy said Tuesday. "I really believe it's more of just a wear-and-tear type thing. He just got a little bit sore in the game. I think he'll be OK. We'll feel it out here in the next couple of days."

More will also be known this week about right tackle Bobby Massie, who sat out Monday night's game while suffering from vertigo. Asked by a reporter how vertigo is cured, Nagy said: "You guys are asking me doctor questions; I don't know that. I just know that they say it's like when you're on a boat. I know my brother-in-law had it bad for about six weeks. It can get you pretty good. You don't want to be feeling like you're dizzy all the time."

This week it will also be important to keep an eye on kicker Eddy Piñeiro, who fought through a knee injury he sustained last Friday in the weight room to make 5-of-6 kicks against the Redskins—1-of-2 field-goal attempts and 4-of-4 extra-point tries.

Series history
The Bears trail 60-54-2 but swept the season series last year for the first time since 2011. The Bears won the last meeting 24-10 on Dec. 30, 2018 at US Bank Stadium. The Bears concluded the regular season with their ninth win in their final 10 games and knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs. The Bears raced to a 13-0 second-quarter lead behind two Jordan Howard touchdown runs and a dominant defense that opened the game with four straight three-and-outs, registering two sacks of Kirk Cousins and limiting the Vikings to two yards on 12 plays.

Numbers game
The Bears enter Week 4 ranked 29th on offense in the NFL (21st rushing and 29th passing) and 8th on defense (5th against the run and 14th versus the pass). The Vikings rank 15th on offense (2nd rushing and 31st passing) and 12th on defense (13th against the run and 11th versus the pass).

Talk show
Nagy will address the media Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will speak Wednesday, while offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor will talk Thursday.

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