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Monday Night Football review: Minnesota Vikings lose to Chicago Bears

The Minnesota Vikings' playoff chances were dealt a blow on Monday night as Cairo Santos' late field goal handed the Chicago Bears a 12-10 victory.

Minnesota fans packed inside the U.S. Bank Stadium, hoping to see their team move one step closer to the playoffs while also closing the gap between themselves and NFC North leaders the Detroit Lions.

Both teams committed numerous errors on costly plays, but it was the Bears who managed to grind out the win to improve their record to 4-8 this season.

Struggling Chicago shows some fight

Head coach Matt Eberflus' Bears team became the first team this season to win without scoring a touchdown, and while that will worry some of their fanbase, they showed some real grit and determination.

Rookie running back Roschon Johnson earned himself more playing time thanks to his superior pass protection, and he was on the field for 51 of Chicago's 70 offensive snaps.

On the ground, he picked up 35 yards from 10 rushes, and he caught five passes for 40 yards.

Johnson and the rest of the offense had to dig in, but quarterback Justin Fields had to come through some adversity to get his team over the line. 

He started well, completing eight of eight passes, although many of those were behind the line of scrimmage. But his good work was for nothing, as Santos' first field goal attempt missed from 48 yards out.

Whether it was the Vikings' gameplan or Chicago's, Fields was not allowed the chance to throw down field. He averaged the fewest air yards per attempt (2.4) and per completion (1.9) of his career, having thrown 21 passes at or behind the line of scrimmage.

In the fourth quarter, he fumbled the ball twice, giving the Vikings the chance to win the game. Luckily for Fields, the defense did its job and when he had the opportunity to push the Bears into game-winning territory, he did just that.

Fields rifled a 36-yard pass to DJ Moore, which set up Santos' winning field goal.

This was Eberflus' first win over an NFC North opponent, and he believes the team will learn plenty from Monday's encounter.

He told reporters: "It's the way we finished. I think that's going to be more lasting going into these next ballgames. The proof's right there. 

"We've been doing a lot of good things on offense, defense and kicking. It's good to win a tight one like this."

While the Bears struggle on offense, their defense came up with four interceptions, proving that Eberflus' defensive changes are working.

Chicago are also very likely to have the first pick in next year's draft after their trade with the now 1-10 Carolina Panthers, meaning they may have two picks inside the top five, allowing them to plan their future with conviction.

O'Connell refuses to commit to Dobbs

Minnesota fell to 6-6 for the season on Monday and their playoff hopes are now hanging in the balance.

Kevin O'Connell's team would sneak in if the season ended this week, but they now have NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers breathing down their necks.

Green Bay, the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints are all 5-6 through the first 12 weeks, meaning the Vikings are far from safe in the wild card race.

The Vikings and their fans have been through it this year, with quarterback Kirk Cousins suffering a season-ending Achilles injury earlier this year, while star wide receiver Justin Jefferson is still unavailable through injury.

Click here for a list of injuries to NFL players this season.

Minnesota's decision to trade for Josh Dobbs seemed to be shrewd business after a run of wins, but he has now thrown eight interceptions in four weeks. 

They are now heading into their bye and have two weeks to decide if Nick Mullens or Jaren Hall are good enough to replace Dobbs.

When asked about his quarterback options, O'Connell admitted he was considering a change to try and get over the line against the Bears: "We're going to take a look and really evaluate the inventory of plays we have of Josh.

"We got healthy. We got Jaren back available to us and then Nick Mullens is available as well.

"We definitely had started to get to the point where I was just trying to think, almost, what would give us a spark."

Dobbs tried to stay professional when asked about his position and he has vowed to learn from his errors when they return in Week 14 against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Minnesota are -125 to make the playoffs this season, and +100 to miss out.

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