MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Vikings and their dominant defense can finally rest.
They've made a convincing case they're a strong contender for the Super Bowl that happens to be on their home turf.
Latavius Murray rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns , and the Vikings held Chicago to 86 total yards through three quarters on their way to wrapping up a first-round bye for the playoffs with a 23-10 victory over the Bears on Sunday.
“We wanted to finish this season off right,” Murray said.
Stefon Diggs caught six passes for 65 yards and a touchdown from Case Keenum for the Vikings (13-3), who reached 13 wins for only the second time in the history of the 57-year-old franchise after holding a second straight opponent without an offensive touchdown.
“You respect everybody who played the game and came before us,” Diggs said, “but all those wins that we've had in the past, even today, they don't matter anymore because it all could end.”
As long as this defense that entered the final regular-season game with the fewest points and yards allowed in the NFL this season is intact, the Vikings will likely stick around.
“We've got a lot of good players. They understand the system and what their responsibility is, and they play very, very hard,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “They've got this little edge about them right now, that they don't want to give an inch.”
Mitchell Trubisky finished his rookie season with a turnover-free game, completing 20 of 36 passes for 178 yards. He failed, however, to guide the Bears (5-11) across the goal line despite 11 plays from the 10-yard line or closer in the fourth quarter.
“I just got more comfortable as the weeks went on,” Trubisky said. “Just to play my game, be a leader on this team and help the offense grow and get better, but we've got to find a way to have a chance to win at the end of games.”
Trubisky also took a safety in the second quarter on an intentional grounding call when Danielle Hunter and Linval Joseph closed in on a sack in the end zone and he side-armed a throw between the two pass rushers.
In what could have been the final game for coach John Fox, who's 14-34 in three seasons, the Bears didn't cross midfield until the fourth quarter and totaled only 30 yards rushing. They were penalized 10 times for 116 yards and went 1 for 14 on third and fourth down.
Fox refused to address his status, leaving the podium in less than two minutes after a terse postgame news conference. The Bears are 1-5 against each of their three NFC North foes under Fox.
“I would love to have him back,” wide receiver Josh Bellamy said. “I don't feel like we'd get another coach that would be better.”