MINNEAPOLIS - Brett Favre's surprise return ended quickly and Devin Hester set an NFL record with his 14th career return for a touchdown, leading the Chicago Bears to a 40-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night at snowy TCF Bank Stadium.
After being ruled out on Saturday with a sprained right shoulder, Favre recovered in time to start. He completed 5 of 7 passes for 63 yards with one touchdown and an interception for the Vikings (5-9) before getting knocked out of the game with a head injury in the second quarter.
The Bears (10-4) clinched the NFC North title behind Hester, who returned a punt 64 yards for a TD in the third quarter and also caught a 15-yard TD pass.
The game was played at the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium after the Metrodome's roof collapsed last weekend.
The Bears clinched their first division title since 2006, and took control of the NFC's No. 2 seed for the playoffs. Tied with the Eagles at 10-4, the Bears own the tiebreaker by virtue of their 31-26 win over the Birds on Nov. 28.
If the Bears keep their momentum and hold onto the No. 2 seed, they assure themselves a bye for the first round of the playoffs.
The Bears activated rookie defensive end Corey Wootton for just the fourth time this season, and the former Northwestern standout came up big.
Beating left tackle Bryant McKinnie, Wootton posted his first career sack when he dropped Favre for a 12-yard loss with 11 minutes, 27 seconds left in the first quarter. Wootton's hit left the quarterback shaken. Trainers helped him off the field and he did not return.