Vikings vs. Bears: Week 17 preview

Today's game between the Vikings and Bears at Mall of America Field features two teams going in the same direction -- home. Unfortunately, fans won't be able to boo Jay Cutler. He's out with a broken thumb. Instead, fans will get a fresh look at Josh McCown -- he knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs back in 2003.
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Today's game between the Vikings and Bears at Mall of America Field features two teams going in the same direction -- home. Neither team will make the playoffs, instead, the main storylines will be about making progress for next season.

Let's start with the quarterbacks. Christian Ponder is expected to start for the Vikings, despite being knocked out of last Saturday's win over the Redskins with a concussion. The Bears will send out backup Josh McCown for a second straight week.

Remember Josh McCown? If not, check out this nightmare-causing video to the tune of the radio play-by-play of Paul Allen, "No! No! The Cardinals have knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs!"

We know. That was painful. That's why we're going to make it worse for you. Check out the Tecmo Super Bowl version of the play.

Speaking of video games, ESPN uses MADDEN to simulate each NFL game. Unfortunately, the Vikings vs. Bears simulation has Christian Ponder throwing an interception in the red zone to help the Bears win 13-10.

That MADDEN simulation also suggests Josh McCown will leave the game with an injury. The actual injury report for the game doesn't feature McCown, but it does include Bears' starters Marion Barber, Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Devin Hester. Anthony Herrera (lower back) was the only Viking to miss practice on Wednesday.

Christian Ponder was a full-participant during Wednesday's practice, and although he will make the start, he'll likely be involved in quarterback controversy conversation until the start of next season. Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press put together a "Tale of the Tape" comparing Ponder with Joe Webb.

Webb tells Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press that he's not focused on a quarterback controversy. Webb however does admit that he's "always competing" for the starting job.

Jim Kleinsasser won't be back with the Purple next season. The tight end is expected to retire, ending his 13-year run with the Vikings. Head coach Leslie Frazier says Kleinsasser could receive a goal-line carry if one presents itself.

The Vikings could potentially be playing its last game in the Metrodome. The team's lease on the stadium expires at the end of the season. However, the game is sold out, and will be available on local television. Minnesota's sellout streak is now at a whopping 144 games.

That's a roundup of what's being said so far about Sunday's finale. As for the players themselves, here's a ton of audio from our partner Eric Nelson, who heads up GameDay Gold Sports Media:

[wpaudio url="http://assets.bringmethenews.com.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/001_A_003_Sonymp3_GDGJim-Kleinsasser_2011_12_29.mp3" text="Gameday Gold: Jim Kleinsasser on Bears" dl="0"]

[wpaudio url="http://assets.bringmethenews.com.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/001_A_002_Sonymp3_GDGLorenzo-Booker_2011_12_29.mp3" text="Gameday Gold: Lorenzo Booker on Bears" dl="0"]

[wpaudio url="http://assets.bringmethenews.com.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/001_A_004_Sonymp3_GDGJoe-Webb_2011_12_29.mp3" text="Gameday Gold: Joe Webb on Bears" dl="0"]

[wpaudio url="http://assets.bringmethenews.com.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/001_A_005_Sonymp3_GDGPhil-Loadholt_2011_12_29.mp3" text="Gameday Gold: Phil Loadholt on Bears" dl="0"]

[wpaudio url="http://assets.bringmethenews.com.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/001_A_001_Sonymp3_GDGKyle-Rudolph_2011_12_29.mp3" text="Gameday Gold: Kyle Rudolph on Bears" dl="0"]

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