Both the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears have been eliminated from postseason contention entering their Week 18 matchup, but this still remains a fierce rivalry no matter the stakes. The Bears were the Vikings' first opponent when the franchise launched in 1961. Since then, they have played at least twice every year except the strike-shortened 1982 season. Along the way, the rivalry has produced many great moments. Here are the five most memorable.
5. A Brett Favre Comeback Comes up Short
Chicago Bears 36, Minnesota Vikings 30
Dec. 28, 2009 – Chicago
Down 23-6 in the third quarter, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre threw a touchdown pass to Visanthe Shiancoe and Adrian Peterson ran for another score to tie the game at 23-23. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett to retake the lead with less than five minutes to play, but Minnesota tied the game when Favre hit Sidney Rice for a score with 16 seconds left. In overtime, Peterson fumbled, and the Bears recovered it on the Vikings' 39-yard-line. Cutler then hit Devin Aromashodu for the game-winning score.
4. The Lone Playoff Meeting
Chicago Bears 35, Minnesota Vikings 18 (NFC Wild Card Game)
Jan. 1, 1995 – Minneapolis
The Vikings beat the Bears in both regular-season games to win the competitive NFC Central at 10-6. Chicago finished 9-7 to earn the sixth playoff seed and a third game against Minnesota in the wild card round. This time, the Bears capitalized on four Vikings turnovers to garner the upset and advance to the next round, where they were throttled by the San Francisco 49ers 44-15. The game is only the playoff meeting between the two teams.
3. First Game. First Meeting. First Upset.
Minnesota Vikings 37, Chicago Bears 13
Sept. 17, 1961 – Bloomington, Minn.
The newly launched Vikings franchise opened its first season against the Bears and pulled off a major upset. Rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes and run for another as Minnesota overwhelmed Chicago. What makes this even more stunning is the fact that the Vikings won only two more games that season and lost to the Bears 52-35 in the finale.
2. The Audible
Minnesota Vikings 21, Chicago Bears 20
Oct. 4, 1992 – Minneapolis
Leading 20-0 in the fourth quarter, Bears head coach Mike Ditka called a running play, but Jim Harbaugh audibled for a pass. His throw was intercepted by Todd Scott, who returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Then Cris Carter and Roger Craig scored touchdowns to take the lead and the win. Ditka criticized Harbaugh's audible when speaking with reporters after the game. The loss put the Bears at 2-3 from which they never recovered, finishing the season with a 5-11 record, and Ditka was fired.
1. The Viking Miracle
Chicago Bears 33, Minnesota Vikings 24
Sept.ember 19, 1985 – Minneapolis
Bears quarterback Jim McMahon was sidelined with a pinched nerve and the Vikings built a 17-9 third-quarter lead. Then head coach Mike Ditka acquiesced and let McMahon play. His first throw was a 70-yard touchdown pass to Willie Gault (at 11:50 in the highlights) as Chicago scored 21 unanswered points and took the lead. The game is known as "The Viking Miracle."
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo courtesy of vikings.com)