Thielen hits bonus, moves up Vikings receptions lists, in victory over Bears
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen made six catches for 61 yards, giving him 91 receptions to surpass Cris Carter for seventh all-time in franchise history for a season in a 23-10 victory over the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday.
Thielen gained 1,276 yards on those catches this season, ninth all-time with the Vikings and scored four touchdowns in earning his first invitation to the Pro Bowl.
“He’s a great kid, a great competitor, and he loves to play the game- he continues to get better each week,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said.
Reaching 90 receptions was financially rewarding to the Detroit Lakes native, as well, earning Thielen a bonus incentive of $250,000. He entered the game with 85 catches and had already earned $750,000 for reaching 80 receptions this season.
Latavius Murray had a pair of touchdowns in Sunday’s victory, while quarterback Case Keenum was 21 of 29 for 189 yards and one touchdown. Murray had 111 yards rushing on 22 carries.
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.
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.
The Vikings (13-3) clinched a first-round bye and the victory Sunday may have spelled the end for Bears head coach John Fox, who is widely expected to be dismissed after his team finished 5-11.
The Sports Xchange contributed to this story.