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Mel Tucker's defense delivers vs. Vikings, but what does it mean?

Bears rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller gave his beleaguered coaches some much-needed love Sunday. He was on the receiving end of a big hug from elated coach Marc Trestman and had words of encouragement for defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as he passed through the locker room.

‘‘Good game, Coach,’’ Fuller said loudly — and seemingly proudly.

The Bears’ 21-13 victory against the Minnesota Vikings definitely was big for a downtrodden defense that had been beaten ruthlessly by the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers in the previous two games.

Now, beating rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings isn’t exactly something to shout about. The Bears, for the most part, seemed to recognize that afterward. But there still was an unmistakable sense of satisfaction emanating from members of the defense, knowing they had handled an opponent they were expected to at home.

‘‘We needed it,’’ defensive end Jared Allen said. ‘‘It was time to get some confidence and get back on the right track.’’


There were positive feelings galore. Allen won at Soldier Field for the first time in his career, beating his former team, sacking Bridgewater and hitting him three other times. Linebacker Lance Briggs was noticeable throughout, starting with his tackle of running back Jerick McKinnon for a three-yard loss on the Vikings’ fifth offensive play. Defensive end Willie Young also had a key sack late in the fourth quarter.

The Bears’ success started by limiting the Vikings’ running game to 48 yards on 15 carries. That matched the Vikings’ longest play of the game — a fake punt that turned into a 48-yard gain. The Bears’ defense allowed only 195 yards of offense after the Patriots and Packers combined for a whopping 938.

‘‘Some of the stuff they did was a little more traditional, which played to our strengths,’’ Allen said.

As a result, Bridgewater was unable to build off consecutive victories against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (81.5 passer rating) and Washington Redskins (88.2). He was 18-for-28 for 158 yards and a 76.2 rating. He also threw a game-sealing interception to safety Ryan Mundy in the final two minutes.

‘‘We were playing our staple defense, cover-2; that’s our bread-and-butter,’’ Mundy said of his interception. ‘‘Just got to have a vision on the quarterback and break.

‘‘This was definitely a much-needed win, a great team effort all around.’’

Time will tell how much it really means. But there were signs of unity and buying in afterward. Mundy quoted Trestman, and cornerback Tim Jennings insisted there was no finger-pointing coming into Sunday. But victories will do that.

‘‘The locker room has to be tight,’’ Jennings said. ‘‘You have to stay together. If the players are separated, that’s when it gets really ugly. But today, all week long, we never pointed a finger. We never got down on each other.’’

And that includes the Bears’ coaches, who have been criticized for weeks.

‘‘Everybody in this locker room, we were doing it for each other,’’ Fuller said. ‘‘That’s the way it has to be.’’


Twitter: @adamjahns