CHICAGO (AP) — Quarterback Sam Bradford probably wishes now he’d bought travel insurance for the journey that brought him to Minnesota just in time for the season opener.
What seemed like a steal for most of the last two months as the Vikings cruised to a 5-0 start increasingly feels like a bad trip.
The Chicago Bears exploited the same weaknesses in a 20-10 victory Monday night the Eagles had a week ago, poring through a slapped-together offensive line and sacking Bradford five times. After being sacked six times in Philadelphia, Bradford wound up 23 of 37 for 228 yards and a touchdown that pulled Minnesota within 10 points with little more than five minutes remaining.
The Vikings ineffective rushing game provided Bradford with little breathing room as well, contributing just 57 yards on 18 attempts. Running back Adrian Peterson, who suffered a knee injury against the Packers in Week 2, is eligible to return in late November. Even the Vikings defense, rated No. 1 overall in the NFL, was no help.
That unit was expected to keep Minnesota comfortably in the running for the wide-open NFC North. But Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, returning from a right thumb injury that shelved him late in Week 2, had plenty of time to roll up 252 yards on 20-of-31 passing and one touchdown.
Where the Vikings find immediate help is anyone’s guess.
General manager Rick Spielman surrendered a first- and conditional fourth-round pick to get Bradford from Philadelphia after starting QB Teddy Bridgewater was injured. During the bye week, the Vikings coaxed veteran tackle Jake Long out of semi-retirement to shore up the offensive line, but that experiment seems doomed. Long was responsible for two of the Eagles’ six sacks a week earlier — both led to strips — and Chicago’s rookie edge rusher Leonard Floyd blew by him for the Bears’ first sack.
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)