MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings had a few flaws in their offense and special teams during Sunday's 23-10 win over the Chicago Bears. Minnesota will have an extra week to work on them before opening the playoffs at home.
The Vikings (13-3) clinched a first-round bye with the win over Chicago and may have spelled the end for Bears head coach John Fox, who is widely expected to be dismissed after his team finished 5-11. Minnesota was dominating on defense, as has become the calling card of these Vikings, holding Chicago to 201 yards of offense -- most of it in the second half when the result was no longer in doubt.
Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, playing behind a patchwork offensive line, was 20 of 36 for 176 yards and was sacked once. He also gave up a safety.
Minnesota did what it could to eliminate any drama early, scoring touchdowns -- both via 1-yard runs by Murray -- on two of the Vikings' first three offensive possessions and taking a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Chicago's offense managed just one first down in its initial four possessions, but the Bears special teams got them on the board when Bryce Callahan returned a Minnesota punt 59 yards for a touchdown.
The Vikings got two more points before halftime, pressuring Trubisky in the end zone and forcing the rookie quarterback to throw the ball away. He was called for intentional grounding, which gave the Vikings a safety and a 16-7 lead. It was one of seven penalties for 91 yards whistled against Chicago in the first half, compared to just 53 yards of offense.
Keenum hit Stefon Diggs in the back of the end zone on Minnesota's final play of the third quarter for a 15-yard touchdown and a 23-7 lead. Chicago's offense finally scored with 8:22 to play via a 55-yard Mike Nugent field goal. Trubisky led two sustained fourth-quarter drives for Chicago, but got no points when the Bears failed to convert on fourth-and-goal plays from the 6-yard line and from the 2-yard line.
Minnesota's last bye in the first round came in the 2010 playoffs. The Vikings beat Dallas at home and then lost at New Orleans in overtime of the NFC Championship Game.
NOTES: The Vikings encouraged fans to arrive a minimum of 45 minutes before kickoff to ensure they could get through security. Despite the minus-11 temperature outside at the start of the game, all fans were required to open their coats for inspection. ... Chicago was without regular offensive linemen Bobby Massie and Josh Sitton. ... Fox's record in three seasons as the Bears head coach is now 14-34. His first season in Chicago was his best, with a 6-10 record. ... Bryce Callahan's punt-return touchdown for Chicago was the first of his career. ... Vikings FB C.J. Ham left the game in the first half with a neck injury and did not return. He had one reception for 1 yard in the game.