Bears notebook: Vasher's return returns dividends
The Chicago Bears decided to play cornerback Nathan Vasher for the first time since Week 3.
Vasher returned an interception 34 yards to set up Chicago's first touchdown, a 1-yard run by fullback Jason Mckie, late in the first half.
Vasher had been slow to recover from a groin injury. He was quick to get back in the flow, adding three tackles by halftime along with a pass defensed in Minnesota's 20-13 triumph.
"It's great to get Nathan Vasher back. He made a lot of great plays," head coach Lovie Smith said. "We're a better team with him on the field."
Tight ends set mark
Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen had combined for 869 receiving yards going into the game, leaving them 19 yards shy of the team's top tandem for one season among tight ends. Emery Moorehead (481) and Tim Wrightman (407) lead the way with 888 in 1985.
The duo reached the mark after Clark made a 9-yard catch in the first half and Olsen one for 13 in the fourth quarter. They totaled three catches for 27 yards.
Clark already had become the first Bears tight end with consecutive 40-catch seasons since Mike Ditka (1963-64).
Ogunleye streak snapped
Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye had recovered a fumble in three straight games. He had the most fumble recoveries in the NFL since 2006 at six, along with Kansas City's Jared Allen, going into the weekend.
Ogunleye didn't recover any fumbles against Minnesota, but Brian Urlacher did, leading to a field goal.
Corner Charles Tillman had the wind knocked out of him with 11:28 to play, but returned. Defensive end Mark Anderson and reserve linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo each suffered knee injuries in the first half and were announced as questionable to return.
Peterson catching on
The Bears' Adrian Peterson begin the week sixth in the NFL for yards receiving by running backs with 344. He didn't hurt his standing Monday.
He finished with a team-best eight catches for 51 yards.
No Moss, no problem
Minnesota, despite not having Randy Moss any more, only needed on play of 50-plus yards against Chicago to tie the 1998 team record for most such plays in a season. It had 18 entering the evening.
The mark was tied on a 71-yard completion to former Packer Robert Ferguson in the third quarter.
Also, the Vikings will set a team record for 100-yard rushing performances with one more. Adrian Peterson had six 100-yard games and Chester Taylor two going into the game, with neither coming close Monday.
Chicago now has a sack in 19 straight games, its longest stretch since going 21 games from Sept. 23, 2001 through Oct. 20, 2002.
It took until the third quarter to get one, with Brian Urlacher taking down Tarvaris Jackson for a 7-yard loss. Urlacher added a second one for a 6-yard loss.
The Vikings had their 103rd consecutive sellout with a crowd of 63,800. ... The Bears fell to 7-5 in road games against division foes under Lovie Smith. ... Chicago is 1-3 in prime-time games this season, but 7-4 under Smith including 2-1 on Monday Night Football. ... This was the two team's 10th meeting on Monday night, with Minnesota owning a 6-4 edge. The Vikings have faced the Bears more than any other team on MNF. ... The last time they met on MNF was 10/28/96 at the Metrodome. The Vikings are 24-23 on MNF, including 14-7 at home. ... Minnesota leads the all-time series 50-42-2, including 5-1 in the past six Metrodome meetings. ... The Vikings beat the Bears 34-31 on Oct. 14 at Soldier Field. ... Chicago is home Sunday to Green Bay; Minnesota play host to Washington on Sunday evening.
Rex Grossman was Chicago's third quarterback, while S Josh Gattis, LB Darrell McClover, G/C Josh Beekman, DT Babatunde Oshinowo, WR Mike Hass, TE John Gilmore and DT Darwin Walker were inactive.
John St. Clair started for Terry Metcalf at left guard.
Deactivated for Minnesota were third QB Kelly Holcomb, S Tank Williams, CB Ronyell Whitaker, RB Mewelde Moore, TE Garrett Mills, LB David Herron, T Chase Johnson and WR Troy Williamson.
Former Packer Robert Ferguson started for Williamson.
Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.