Vikings sitting 6 starters, Mattison against Bears

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 08: Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings carrels the ball for a gain in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 8, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Imag ((Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images))

With nothing to play for and the No. 6 seed in the NFC Playoffs locked in, the Minnesota Vikings are sitting at least six starters for Sunday’s regular season finale against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The starters sitting out include Dalvin Cook, linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, offensive linemen Brian O’Neill and Riley Reiff and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen. Also not playing for the third straight game is No. 2 running back Alexander Mattison.

Cook has been battling a shoulder injury in recent weeks, but will give every effort to be on the field next weekend when the Vikings open the NFC Playoffs on the road in the Wild Card round. The same goes for Mattison, who has been dealing with an ankle injury. One of the Vikings’ top priorities is getting Cook healthy for the playoffs. He’s got 1,135 yards rushing on the season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry with 13 rushing touchdowns. He’s become a bigger weapon in the passing game with 53 catches for 519 yards.

The Vikings are resting other starters, with Sunday’s game having no bearing on playoff implications for either team. Kendricks suffered a quad injury in Monday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter and did not return. Barr, Reiff and O’Neill are also getting rest. The two starting offensive tackles resting, it’s a safe bet quarterback Kirk Cousins either won’t play at all or see extremely limited time.

Cousins was sacked five times and completed 16 passes for just 122 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the 23-10 loss to the Packers. The Vikings’ offense managed just seven first downs in the game. For the season, Cousins is 14th with 240.2 passing yards per game, but also fifth with 26 touchdowns.

Notable players for the Bears that are inactive include wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.

The Vikings will know by the end of game action Sunday night where they're headed for the first round of the playoffs and who they'll be facing. Regardless of outcomes, they'll be on the road throughout the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.