Andy Dalton to Start for Bears vs. Vikings; Justin Fields on Reserve/COVID-19 List

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy
announced Friday that Andy Dalton will start at quarterback in
Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings. Nick
Foles is set to serve as the backup.

Nagy explained it’s possible signal-caller Justin Fields, who’s on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19
list, could still test out of the protocols before Sunday, but the rookie has missed too much
practice time this week to play a key role.

If Fields’ debut campaign is over, it
comes to a close with mixed results.

The 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft
completed 58.9 percent of his throws for 1,870 yards with seven
touchdowns and 10 interceptions across 12 games (10 starts). He added
420 rushing yards and two scores on the ground.

The Ohio State product ranked last among 31 qualified
quarterbacks in ESPN’s Total QBR (25.7) and received a lackluster
64.2 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

That’s not to say there weren’t moments
when he flashed his potential.

He rushed for 103 yards and a
touchdown in a Week 8 game against the San Francisco 49ers to
highlight his dual-threat ability, and he put together his most
comprehensive performance as a passer (26-of-39 for 285 yards with
one TD and no picks) in Week 15 against the Vikes.

Fields should enter the 2022 campaign
as the Bears’ undisputed starting quarterback.

Meanwhile, Dalton is set to become a
free agent at season’s end and gets one final opportunity to prove
himself to potentially interested teams.

The 34-year-old former Cincinnati
Bengals starter has compiled seven touchdowns and seven interceptions
in seven appearances (five starts) in 2021.

Both the Bears (6-10) and Vikings (7-9)
have been eliminated from playoff contention heading into the Week 18
encounter.

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