When the NFL decided to add an extra game to the schedule, they envisioned a week of important matchups that could shape the playoff race and give fans the nail-biting action that drives the league.
Vikings-Bears is not what they had in mind.
Instead, two lame-duck coaches will battle for second place at U.S. Bank Stadium in a game that Viking fans would rather forget. Although Sunday's game is meaningless, here are five things you can count on as Minnesota wraps up a regrettable year.
1. Mike Zimmer coaching his final game
The Vikings have nothing to gain by beating the Bears, but don't tell that to Zimmer. With reports already surfacing that the team plans to move on after Sunday's game, Zimmer is in survival mode and has vowed to play all of his starters.
Zimmer's comments about this being a regular-season game are interesting considering how he's handled the situation in the past.
In 2019, The Vikings rested their starters in the regular-season finale when their spot in the playoffs was secured. But the following year, Zimmer played his starters in Detroit after the Vikings were eliminated the previous week.
Another win on Zimmer's coaching record is nice, but playing the starters deprives the young players on the roster a chance to show what they can do in a game.
2. Kirk Cousins delivering in a meaningless game
Another highlight of Cousins' 2020 season was his Week 17 performance against the Lions. With the Vikings out of contention, Cousins threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns while finding the end zone on the ground.
Cousins dropping The Griddy during a meaningless game in Detroit is on-brand for his tenure in Minnesota. But it could pale in comparison to what could happen on Sunday.
The Bears have ruled out Akiem Hicks, which should neutralize the pass rush. With the Bears locker room checked out, Cousins could take advantage with a clean pocket and provide one of his best performances of the season.
3. Great seats available
If you haven't seen a game at U.S. Bank Stadium, Sunday might be an excellent opportunity. As of Saturday night, tickets for Sunday's game are down to $32 on StubHub and could drop more closer to game time.
This makes a perfect opportunity to bring someone who may not normally see a Vikings game. Whatever your reason, great seats should be available on Sunday.
4. The final game for some familiar faces
Minnesota is $11 million over the cap heading into this offseason and it could mean that several veterans could be playing their final game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Anthony Barr is a free agent after this season but other names such as Harrison Smith and Dalvin Cook have large salaries that could help the Vikings get out of their cap crunch. The drama also surrounds Cousins, who carries a $45 million cap hit for next season.
It's possible a lot of these names could be back under restructured deals but something will have to change in order to upgrade the roster.
5. A blowout victory over the Bears
This game will follow the script of the 2021 Vikings. When the pressure was on, the Vikings folded. When the pressure is gone, they looked like a legitimate contender.
Sunday's game falls into the latter category.
The Vikings are 3-0 under Zimmer in games where they've been eliminated from contention and with the Bears just as lethargic, this should be the blowout victory this team was capable of all along.