CHICAGO — Whether the Minnesota Vikings had a good defensive performance on Sunday night in a 25-20 loss to the Chicago Bears would be a good debate.
While they allowed 148 yards rushing and 6-for-12 on third downs to Chicago, the Vikings also only gave up 165 yards passing to quarterback Mitch Trubisky and picked him off twice.
Both interceptions came from safety Anthony Harris.
“Winning is the number one priority and performing well is one of my priorities too,” Harris said. “That’s just doing my part and helping the team…I tried to go out there and execute my job without hurting the team and make as many plays as possible.”
With starting safety Andrew Sendejo out with a groin injury, Harris has provided the Vikings with stability at the position. The team acquired veteran George Iloka prior to the year as a backup to Sendejo, but head coach Mike Zimmer made a change after a big play allowed to the New Orleans Saints. Harris has started since.
The 27-year-old’s first interception came with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter with the Bears up by two touchdowns.
“I just tried to disguise pre-snap, take a look at the offense, what formation they were in, where particular players were, check out the matchups and then execute my assignment…I tried to read the quarterback and get a good break on the ball,” Harris said.
“From what I could tell he looked like he played well,” Zimmer said. “He made a nice breakup on one play and had a couple interceptions. The first interception was really good, I thought. He had a good break on the ball.”
As they often did on Sunday, the Vikings failed to take full advantage of the interception, managing just a field goal despite starting at the Chicago 31-yard line.
The question going forward is whether the Vikings will turn back to Sendejo when he is healthy or continue to roll with Harris. Both have a great deal of experience under Zimmer, but Sendejo struggled at times early in the season, especially with penalties. Coming into the game, Harris, in albeit a small sample size, was rated as one of Pro Football Focus’s top safeties. Before the matchup he had only been targeted four times in 91 coverage snaps.