clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chiefs at Vikings Six Pack: What I'm Looking For

New, comments

The Vikings host the reeling Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday. What are the keys to a Vikings victory?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

At 2-2 coming out of the bye, the Vikings go on a four game stretch that will either set them up for a second half playoff run, or have them jockeying for a a high draft slot. The first game of this crucial stretch comes Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium, as the Kansas City Chiefs come to town. The Chiefs are reeling with a record of 1-4, lost a heartbreaker to the Bears in the closing seconds on Sunday, and lost All-Pro RB Jamaal Charles for the season with a torn ACL. This game is ripe for the taking, so how do the Vikings come out on top?

Start off strong and set the tone early. Fearless Leader dropped this little diddy yesterday about how poorly the Vikings have fared coming out of the bye in recent seasons. This Chiefs team is down, and the Vikings need to come out, seize the initiative, and don't let Kansas City get comfortable. The longer the Chiefs hang around, the more confident they'll get. The more confident they get, the greater the chance they pull the upset. A home loss to a 1-4 team would be devastating. The Vikings need to get going early and not let up. To do that, they should think about...

Getting the wide receivers going, whoever they are. With Charles Johnson, Mike Wallace, and Jarius Wright all nursing some kind of injury, who actually sees the field Sunday should have a big day. How bad is Kansas City at defending opposing wide receivers this year? Let's take a look:

Team

Player

Rec

Yds

TD

Hou

Nate Washington

6

105

0

Hou

DeAndre Hopkins

9

98

0

Den

Demaryius Thomas

8

116

0

Den

Emmanuel Sanders

8

87

2

GB

James Jones

7

139

1

GB

Randall Cobb

7

91

3

Cin

A.J. Green

4

84

0

Cin

Mohamed Sanu

7

82

0

Chi

Marquess Wilson

6

85

1

That's...not good. When you add in the good games that Stefon Diggs, Wallace, and Adam Thielen all had in Denver two weeks ago, the table is set for Teddy Bridgewater and his receivers to have a big day. But for that to happen, the Vikings offensive line must...

Give Bridgewater a clean pocket and time to throw. The Chiefs only have 11 sacks this season, have given up more passing TD's than any other defense in football, and only have two interceptions. This is a unit that's given up yards in chunks, and has wilted when crunch time hit. If the line can give Bridgewater a clean pocket to throw the ball, the offense should hum. If they can get going early, and jump out to a decent lead, then they can...

Control the clock with Adrian Peterson. The one bright spot for the Chiefs defense is against the run. They're currently 13th in the NFL in that category, and opponents are averaging less than four yards a run. The Vikings offense still runs through AP, but this game feels it will be one of those 'throw the ball to set up the run' type of game, and if the Vikings take control of the game, they can run the ball down KC's throat. If they can do that, they'll have a great opportunity to...

Make the Chiefs one dimensional, then neutralize Jeremy Maclin. Jamaal Charles going out for the season is the equivalent of the Vikings losing Peterson--it's a brutal injury for a struggling offense, and it's going to be tough for them to move the ball. How important is Charles to the Chiefs? He's obviously their leading rusher, and one of the best backs in the NFL. But do you know who's second in rushing on the Chiefs? The two backs behind Charles, Knile Davis and Charkandrick West, have combined for 23 carries and 75 yards, putting them a combined third on the team in rushing behind...Alex Smith. Woof. And with a passing game that's one of the most ineffective in the NFL,  I think the Chiefs will have to try and get the running game going, but I don't see them having a lot of success. If the they have to play from behind, they'll look to Maclin, and it will probably be up to Xavier Rhodes to shut him down. If Rhodes can at least contain him, the Vikings are going to stonewall Kansas City's offense. And that will present the Vikings with ample scoring opportunities, so it will be imperative to...

Not waste scoring opportunities. Against Denver, Minnesota left points on the field, and it cost them in a close loss. It doesn't matter how down an opponent is, the more scoring opportunities you squander, the greater the chance you have of losing. I am petrified of a game being decided on a 40-something yard field goal by Blair Walsh to win or tie, so when Minnesota is in the red zone, they need to finish the drive into the end zone.