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MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings have won a whole bunch of games since their previous matchup with the Bears, a steady march to become NFC North champions that has put plenty of distance between the playoffs they're about to enter and that ugly first half they played against the Bears.

That's precisely where their path to the postseason began to straighten out.

When Case Keenum replaced the ailing Sam Bradford again at quarterback, the Vikings steered themselves back on course that night of Oct. 9 for a 20-17 victory that was the first of eight straight.

For as much as coaches and players speak about the cliched one-game-at-a-time focus, momentum can be an undeniable force.

"It was big," said wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who hobbled through that game with a groin injury. "I wouldn't say really like a turning point, but definitely some momentum moving into the rest of the season that no matter how we've got to do it, we can get a 'W' and finish."

Here are some other key angles to follow during the game on Sunday:

FOX WATCH: With a 14-33 record in three years, this could be John Fox's final game coaching the Bears. If so, it'll be the end of one of the least successful tenures in the franchise history. Only Abe Gibron has a lower winning percentage as a Bears head coach, going 11-30-1 (.274) from 1972-74.

Fox helped orchestrate quick turnarounds with Carolina and Denver, joining Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil and Mike Holmgren as the only coaches to lead two franchises to Super Bowl appearances, but he hasn't experienced similar success in Chicago.

"I've never had trouble getting employment in this league," Fox said this week, "and I'm not going to start worrying about it now."

YOU AGAIN?: This is the fifth time in 13 years that the Bears will wrap up the regular season in Minnesota, including three of the past four, but this is the first of these finales that features any kind of postseason impact. Both teams were eliminated in 2016, 2014 and 2011. The Bears already had the division title clinched in 2005.

"It's still a game. Everybody has to play it. And you have to approach it that way," Fox said. "It will be no different for us."

LONG WAY: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has come a long way since he debuted against the Vikings in that matchup in Chicago nearly three months ago, and the second overall pick in the draft would love to show it.

Trubisky completed 12 of 25 passes for 128 yards on Oct. 9, and his interception in the closing minutes set up the winning field goal by the Vikings. Though his passer rating is a paltry 78.5, Trubisky already holds the franchise rookie passing record with 2,015 yards.

With the Bears expanding the playbook for him, Trubisky has gone from completing 53 percent of his passes through his first seven games to 71 percent over the past four games while throwing for 880 yards.

"Hopefully the game will slow down for me a little bit, and I'll be able to see things a little better," Trubisky said.

STANDING PAT? If the Bears fire Fox, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur could find himself a candidate for the vacancy. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said this week he believes Shurmur deserves another opportunity, five years after his tenure with Cleveland ended at two seasons.

"He's done a really good job. He's a good guy to work with. He's smart. He's respectful," Zimmer said.

Shurmur has bigger priorities for now.

"At some point, if somebody wants to sit down and visit about being the head coach, I can talk about a job that I've already done and about how I'm better since I did that job," he said.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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