Bears at Vikings

8:30, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis.

TV:

ESPN.

Line:

Vikings by 101/2.

Over-under:

43.

The skinny:

Contrary to what some Vikings fans have contended, Brad Childress does have a brain, and he uses it quite a bit. By losing 16 of his first 27 games, Childress had not exactly won over the Minnesota faithful.

The message boards are still stocked with "Fire Childress now!" manifestos, but the 51-year-old former Eagles offensive coordinator finds himself in much better standing entering tonight's game.

The Vikings (7-6) are in control of the NFC's final playoff spot after four straight victories.

Bears coach Lovie Smith is in a different spot in his fourth season. After compiling a 24-8 record over the last two years and taking his team to the Super Bowl last season, Smith is trying to squeeze a solid finish out of an injury-depleted squad that has fallen to 5-8 and is an ultra-long shot for the postseason.

- Associated Press