If the Minnesota Vikings want to reclaim the NFC Central title, they'll have to win outdoors, beginning Sun NFL
roundupday against the Chicago Bears.The Vikings were 8-0 at the Metrodome last year, 2-6 on the road, and they have won 14 straight at home. But Soldier Field, where Minnesota will meet the NFL's top-rated defense, doesn't have a roof.
Coach Jerry Burns and his team won't need roller skates, which Bears Coach Mike Ditka once said were the only way to get around the Vikings' dome sweet dome.
"I don't think there has been any hex on the team, or that it is domed stadiums or grass fields or anything," Burns said.
Yet, so far this season, the Vikings lost 24-21 at Kansas City, and dropped New Orleans 32-3 at home. No hex?
"Away from the Metrodome, we don't come out with as much enthusiasm the first part of the game," Vikings running back Herschel Walker said. "We have to come out with all that enthusiasm, like it is our home game."
Not if Ditka can help it.
"When you play a team that won the division a year ago, you've got to be up for it," he said.
Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh, apparently still No. 1, will not only have Ditka pressuring him, but also the Vikings' mighty defensive line.
"They usually are the best front four we play against," Bears offensive guard Mark Bortz said of Keith Millard, Chris Doleman, Al Noga and Henry Thomas.
"They don't play the run. They rush the passer every down," the Bears' Tom Thayer said.
Minnesota quarterback Wade Wilson, protected by a solid offensive line, has taken control. He changed the plays and formations in a two-minute second-quarter drill last week against New Orleans, producing 10 points in the final 23 seconds.
"Some of the things (plays) I didn't have total confidence in," he said. "I think it's good stuff but at that time, I thought we needed something else and I just did it."
Elsewhere Sunday, it's Dallas at Washington; winless Philadelphia at the Los Angeles Rams, Detroit at Tampa Bay, Phoenix at New Orleans, Indianapolis at Houston (both winless), New England at unbeaten Cincinnati, San Diego at Cleveland, Kansas City at Green Bay, Pittsburgh at the Los Angeles Raiders, Seattle at Denver, San Francisco at Atlanta and Miami at the New York Giants.
Monday night, the New York Jets are home against Buffalo.
At East Rutherford, N.J., the Giants play the Dolphins for the first time since 1972. The game, between two of the league's six 2-0 teams, pits Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor against Miami quarterback Dan Marino. Taylor has four sacks this season while Marino has not been sacked behind a line that includes rookies Richmond Webb and Keith Sims.