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Bears QB debacle meets red-hot Dalvin Cook, Vikings in Yahoo Sports app

Jason Owens

Monday’s matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears pits two rivals headed in opposite directions.

Reality’s set in for the Chicago Bears, who have lost three straight since an improbable 5-1 start. The Vikings, meanwhile, are showing signs of life with a two-game win streak after a disappointing 1-5 start to the season.

The NFC North rivals will do battle with hopes of keeping their playoff hopes alive on a Monday night matchup that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app.

Can Bears muster competent QB play?

Quarterbacks Nick Foles #9 and Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears warm up before the start of the game against Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 26, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky haven't provided the answer at quarterback in Chicago. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Bears are in the midst of the hard lesson that fielding two backup-caliber quarterbacks doesn’t add up to one starter. Mitchell Trubisky is shaping up as a historic draft bust, while Nick Foles continues to play like the backup he always has been.

Anybody still fooled in 2020 by Foles’ 2017 run to a Super Bowl behind the league’s best offensive line is getting the results they deserve. It was a great three-game playoff run that earned Foles a well-deserved page in the NFL history book. It was also a well-timed fluke aided by an elite offensive line that would have made a lot of backups look like starters.

Bears’ trade for Nick Foles looks even worse midseason

The Jacksonville Jaguars got fooled in 2019 and awarded Foles an $88 million deal. They’re the Jaguars. This is what they do. But it didn’t take them long to realize that Gardner Minshew was a better option en route to benching their high-dollar quarterback for a sixth-round rookie.

In one of the most underrated front-office moves in recent years, the Jaguars convinced the Bears to take on Foles’ bloated contract in the offseason. They even got a fourth-round pick in return. Bravo, Jaguars.

After trading for Foles, the Bears still weren’t convinced that he should start, giving Trubisky one last chance to prove he was deserving of the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft. He was not. A 2-0 start couldn’t convince head coach Matt Nagy otherwise.

Foles replaced a struggling Trubisky mid-game in a Week 3 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons and led the Bears to victory in one of Atlanta’s multiple historic collapses this season. Foles went on to lead Chicago to wins in two out of its next three games en route to a 5-1 start.

But three straight losses have the Bears sitting at 5-4, a record more indicative of their minus-12 point differential. Foles has thrown 10 touchdowns against seven interceptions in the process while leading the league’s 29th-ranked offense. He will presumably get the start against the Vikings.

Is Dalvin Cook NFL’s best running back?

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook holds the ball up as he runs into the end zone during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 in Minneapolis. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)
Dalvin Cook is sizzling right now. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

Minnesota has rebounded from its own quarterback struggles to win two straight and turn a disastrous season into one with a glimmer of hope.

One of those wins arrived against the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers. Both of them featured running back Dalvin Cook’s emergence from Pro Bowler to burgeoning superstar.

In wins over the Packers and Detroit Lions, Cook has tallied an astounding 478 yards from scrimmage and six total touchdowns, video-game like numbers that have Vikings fans and fantasy managers beaming.

Which Kirk Cousins will show up?

Cook’s ascension has shifted attention in Minnesota from the ever-turbulent effort behind center that has people still asking if Kirk Cousins can lead a contender. It’s the kind of question that if you’re still asking nine seasons in, you probably have your answer.

Cousins’ play has ranged from excellent to awful this season, with a heavy dose of awful wrapped up in a pair of three-interception games. But as the offense has focused on Cook the last two weeks, Cousins’ play has steadied to the tune of four touchdowns and zero interceptions with 190 yards per game.

This appears to be the blueprint for the Vikings to have a chance to salvage their season.

They’ll face a stout challenge against a top-10 Bears defense that’s largely responsible for Chicago’s winning record through nine weeks. Both teams need a win to keep up in a competitive NFC playoff race.

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