Losses to the Bears in recent seasons have either spelled the end for the Vikings or signaled the beginning of an eventual end.
Remember 2016? The Vikings were 5-1 when they went into Soldier Field on a Halloween Monday Night. After a humbling 20-10 loss, offensive coordinator Norv Turner resigned and the Vikings eventually finished 8-8.
Or 2018? Needing a win over a good Bears team locked into its playoff position, the Vikings lost 24-10 at home in the season finale and were bounced from playoff contention.
Or 2020? A late-season home loss to the Bears ended up being the difference between making and missing the playoffs.
If we are to continue that even-year pattern, we arrive at a decidedly odd 2022 scenario: The Vikings can potentially improve their playoff seed with a win over the Bears on Sunday, and beating Chicago has never been easier.
But is going all-out for a win — or even winning, period — really the best idea?
On one hand, as I talked about on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast, there could be a desire to regain momentum and establish continuity on the offensive line in the wake of Brian O'Neill's season-ending injury during Sunday's blowout loss in Green Bay.
And getting a win over the Bears, regardless who is in the lineup for the Vikings, might come fairly easy. Chicago has lost nine consecutive games, is 3-13 overall with a top-2 draft pick in sight and is about to start Nathan Peterman at quarterback.
Yes, Peterman — with three touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a career passer rating of 32.2 — was named the starter with Justin Fields out with a hip strain.
But do the Vikings really want to risk further injuries in an attempt to win? Especially when a loss would ensure the No. 3 seed, which would guarantee a first-round playoff matchup against the Giants — an OK team, but an overachiever like the Vikings with a QB (Daniel Jones) who has no postseason experience.
A win would give the Vikings an outside shot at the No. 2 seed (if the 49ers lose at home to the woeful Cardinals), which could set up a matchup against the hot Packers or Lions and could spell a quick playoff exit.
It's strange to worry so much about an opponent for a team that's currently 12-4, and it's even stranger to think a loss to the Bears might help extend the Vikings' season.
But that's 2022 for you.