Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter has continued to develop into one of the best pass rushers in the game since signing a five-year, $72 million extension in June. He has 11 1/2 sacks, including 3 1/2 sacks in his last game against the Lions.
“The biggest thing with Danielle is he’s kind of playing more free now,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “Sometimes with young defensive linemen, it’s a little bit paint by the numbers. But now he just kind of reacts. If a tackle oversets, then he comes underneath. If he sets him short, he beats him there. If he sets down on him, he tries to power him and then work off the second move.”
Bears right tackle Bobby Massie figures to see the most of Hunter. Massie and left tackle Charles Leno have been solid throughout the season. But with the Vikings coming off a 10-sack game against the Lions — all but one from defensive linemen — this will be the biggest test yet.
The Bears lead the NFL in turnover margin at plus-13 (24 takeaways, 13 giveaways) after back-to-back plus-3 differentials against the Bills and Lions. The Vikings are 16th in turnover margin (plus-1 — 14 takeaways, 13 giveaways).
PLAYER TO WATCH
After ranking 25th in the NFL in passer rating in the first three weeks of the season (77.8), Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky ranks fifth over the past seven weeks (114.8).
But that doesn’t account for Trubisky’s mobility and escapability. Trubisky is second in the NFL among quarterbacks in rushing yards (320 yards on 41 attempts, three touchdowns). But after rushing for 232 yards in four consecutive games against the Buccaneers, Dolphins, Patriots and Jets, Trubisky has picked his spots the past two weeks — one rush for six yards against the Bills; three for 18 against the Lions.
With the Vikings expected to put a lot of pressure on Trubisky, his decision-making figures to be key.
“We knew he was a good scrambler last year,” Zimmer said. “But some of the runs he has made this year have been unbelievable. The other thing I think he’s done really well this year is he had some free runners on his and it looks like they’re saying, ‘You’ve got to get the ball out and get it to this guy.’ I think he’s done a good job with that as well.”
The Vikings are coming off a bye week, which has allowed some key players — including linebacker Anthony Barr (questionable), wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, running back Dalvin Cook, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and guard Tom Compton (questionable) to heal.