The Chicago Bears need to shut down Minnesota's top pass-catchers
As mentioned above, Sunday will mark the Vikings' first game of the year without superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who was placed on injury reserved earlier in the week. Jefferson has served as his offense's main focal point since his breakout rookie season, but now, the soon-to-be free agent will miss considerable time due to injury.
Minnesota still possesses a number of talented pass catchers, including former Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, 2023 first-round pick Jordan Addison, and K.J. Osborn. Osborn has been designated as the receiver to assume Jefferson's role while away with injury, and while many scoff at a lesser-known player stepping into a focal role within the offense, Osborn is an impressive receiver who's recorded 14 touchdowns since 2021, where he served initially as the third receiver behind Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
The Vikings have a good group of pass catchers despite the Jefferson loss, but the Chicago Bears secondary is as healthy as they have been through the start of the season. After breaking his hand in the season opener, cornerback Kyler Gordon has been designated to return from injury reserved and should play on Sunday. Jaylon Johnson is also slated to return to the starting lineup following a two-game absence with a hamstring injury, leaving Eddie Jackson as the sole day-one starter in the secondary who is not a guarantee to suit up against Minnesota.
When healthy, the secondary is one of the more talented units on the roster, and even though Jefferson will not be on the field on Sunday, they will have their hands full against an offense that wants to throw the football.
Of the Vikings' 1,812 total offensive yards, a staggering 78% of it has been through the air, with Hockenson and Addison alone combining for over 500 yards and five touchdowns. It will certainly take some time for the unit to shake the collective rust off, but covering these two targets consistently may be enough to get Cousins off his rhythm.