'Mr. Mankato' helps lift Vikings to season-ending victory over Bears


Detroit Lakes native Adam Thielen has come a long way in his limited time as a Viking.

The Minnesota State, Mankato standout has gone from practice squad member to a player Mike Zimmer said was one of the most improved during minicamp; to being named Mr. Mankato at training camp to a special teams standout; to one of the biggest reasons why the Vikings beat Chicago 13-9 in the regular season-finale on Sunday.

Thielen caught one touchdown and perhaps saved another one with a tackle on special teams, allowing the Vikings to hold on to the four-point win. He finished the game with three catches for 68 yards and the game's only touchdown.

The game got off to a slow start for both teams as neither the Bears nor Vikings could manage more than a field goal in the first half.

Things didn't go much better to start the second half for the Vikings. A Teddy Bridgewater pass deflected off Cordarrelle Patterson's hands and was intercepted by Chicago's Kyle Fuller.

But after the Vikings defense held the Bears to a field goal following the interception, Bridgewater led the Vikings down the field for a big answer. He capped off the drive with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Thielen.

It was Thielen's first touchdown reception of the season, and Bridgewater's 10th straight game with a touchdown pass.

Minnesota stretched the lead to 13-6 on Walsh's second field goal of the day.

On the ensuing kickoff, Chicago's Marc Mariani broke free into Vikings territory, but Thielen chased him down for a touchdown-saving tackle. The Vikings defense stepped up again, holding the Bears to Jay Feely's third field goal of the day.

Bridgewater finished with another solid day; he was 17 of 25 for 209 yards with the touchdown and interception.

Matt Asiata also ran for a season-high 91 yards on 19 carries, becoming the team leader in rushing yards.

The Vikings finish the season at 7-9.

Scoring Summary

1st quarter – MIN Blair Walsh 37-yard field goal, 3-0 MIN

2nd quarter – CHI Jay Feely 44-yard field goal, 3-3 Tie

3rd quarter – CHI Feely 25-yard field goal, 6-3 CHI

3rd quarter – MIN Teddy Bridgewater to Adam Thielen on a 44-yard touchdown pass (PAT), 10-6 MIN

4th quarter – MIN Walsh 44-yard field goal, 13-6 MIN

4th quarter – CHI Feely 35-yard field goal, 13-9 MIN

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