MINNEAPOLIS -- Victories have been hard to come by for the Minnesota Vikings this year, and they've had just as difficult a time hanging onto the ball.
"Until we stop turning the football over, we won't beat anybody," said coach Mike Tice.
The Vikings' 20 turnovers are most in the league, and their 29th-ranked defense has forced only six of them. It's clear why they're 1-5, and it's just as easy to see where the season soured -- Week 1.
The Vikings played well on the road against Chicago and led most of the game but turned the ball over three times in a 27-23 loss.
Minnesota has a chance Sunday to avenge the earlier defeat and reverse that troubling turnover trend against the Bears (2-4), a team that's also struggling.
The Bears know all about the importance of creating -- and not having -- turnovers. Mike Brown had two game-winning interception returns for touchdowns in overtime last year during Chicago's 13-3 season.
"Completely opposite," said linebacker Brian Urlacher. "We're just not making any plays in critical situations."
Last week against Detroit, the Bears scored 17 unanswered points and took a six-point lead in the third quarter. But they let the Lions tie it with 2 seconds left and lost on a field goal in overtime -- their fourth consecutive defeat.
"These are the games we were winning last year," linebacker Rosevelt Colvin said. "Now, we're losing them."
They got off to a good start, at least. The Vikings had a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter of the season opener and led 23-20 with 2 1/2 minutes left until Brown's interception of Daunte Culpepper set up the winning touchdown.
Culpepper, who has 16 turnovers -- 12 of them interceptions -- is still stinging from that one.
"It's a lot of motivation," Culpepper said Wednesday. "I went back and watched the game last night at home, and we pretty much dominated except for a couple mistakes here and there late in the game."
Tice, trying to keep his young team from losing hope and convince the players they're not far from having at least a .500 record, whipped out a packet of statistics in a meeting this week.
The most telling stat is the turnovers. So what's the solution?
"When the play is over, just hand the ball back to the refs," said running back Moe Williams. "I guess that's the easiest way to not do it. (We're) trying to struggle for that extra yard to make something happen. In some situations, (we) might just need to go down or throw the ball away."
Chris Chandler will start at quarterback for Chicago in place of an injured Jim Miller for the second week. Miller has tendinitis in his throwing shoulder and elbow.
Chandler will face the Vikings' porous pass defense -- their 295 yards allowed per game is 31st in the NFL.
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