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3 thinks we learned about the Vikings

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CHICAGO — Teddy Bridgewater guided the Minnesota Vikings to a comeback win with 10 points in under two minutes on Sunday at Soldier Field.

“That’s why you play 60 minutes,” said Bridgewater, who completed just 10 of 20 passes for a 38.1 passer rating entering the fourth quarter.

That’s when Bridgewater decided to trust his receivers.

Bridgewater connected with wide receiver Charles Johnson on a 35-yard pass play to set up Blair Walsh for a 36-yard field goal and give Minnesota a 23-20 win over the Chicago Bears.

“Can’t win on the road. Can’t win in a temporary stadium,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of purported reasons his team won’t win. “Keep coming up with them.”

Running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 103 yards, but Bridgewater finding his groove in the final 1:49 saved the Vikings (5-2) and might have buried the Bears.

“At this point, we can’t point fingers. We can’t let up,” Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said.

Bridgewater completed 10 passes in the first three quarters but hit the two that counted.

Bridgewater finished 17 of 30 for 187 yards.

The Bears dropped to 2-5 with back-to-back division losses by three points.

What we learned about the Vikings:

1. Adrian Peterson hasn’t lost his fastball.

Peterson didn’t break the big play coach Mike Zimmer thought was coming this week but he averaged 5.2 yards per carry on 20 carries for his third 100-yard game this season.

“I like what we did in the running game. Adrian looked like Adrian,” Zimmer said.

Peterson, whose pass protection issues won’t always allow for him to be on the field in the two-minute offense, had a 9-yard run to set up the game-winning field goal along with carries for 7, 5, 5, 12, 9 and 11 yards.

“We kept swinging the entire game,” Peterson said.

The Vikings play the St. Louis Rams at home next week. He rushed for 212 yards on 24 carries in 2012 the last time the teams met.

2. There’s reason to dig rookie Stefon Diggs.

Held in check much of the first half, Diggs turned the game with his spin move away from cornerback Sherrick McManis that turned a 6-yard catch into a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“It’s good to get these young guys involved,” Zimmer said. “More the merrier.”

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said Sunday that Diggs is becoming the player the team saw in flashes during training camp. He credits leadership from Mike Wallace, the veteran in the wide receiver room, for assisting Diggs in the quick ascent to the team’s top receiver.

3. Cornerback concerns are here to stay.

When Bears quarterback Jay Cutler finally found the weak spot — Sunday it was veteran Terence Newman — in the Vikings’ secondary, he drilled that matchup into submission. The Vikings flipped flag-prone cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the right side of the formation, but Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase quickly caught on and did the same with Jeffery. The attack produced 10 catches for 116 yards on 15 Cutler passes intended for his star receiver, including a second-quarter touchdown. Newman had eight tackles.

“We made way too many mistakes,” Zimmer said. “Especially in the second half defensively. Simple things that shouldn’t have happened.”

Etc.

–DE Everson Griffen left the game with a stinger. He was frustrated and tossed his helmet on the sideline, but coach Mike Zimmer said there was no indication of anything more serious from team trainers. Griffen had five tackles but didn’t pressure QB Jay Cutler as often as expected. Griffen was primarily matched up with backup tackle Charles Leno.

–WR Stefon Diggs had six catches to lead the Vikings and has at least that total in four straight games since entering the starting lineup. He was targeted a team-high 12 times by QB Teddy Bridgewater. Diggs scored a game-tying 40-yard touchdown, turning a short reception into one of the biggest plays in Sunday’s win at Chicago.

“It was a great run after the catch, really,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Stefon just continues to get better.”

–K Blair Walsh made the game-winning field goal as time expired at Soldier Field on Sunday. He was on shaky ground in training camp and early in the season, but the coaching staff kept things positive with Walsh, who is 11 of 11 during Minnesota’s current three-game winning streak.

“It feels good, but I am far from the hero,” Walsh said. “This is a team win. … I’m where I want to be. I’m kind of hitting my groove.”


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