In what used to be the All-Important Third Preseason Game™, the Minnesota Vikings chose to sit a lot of their primary contributors in order to avoid injury. If the preseason has been any indicator, the team had better hope that they continue to avoid injuries to their stars in the games that matter, too.
The defending AFC Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, got two early touchdowns from Patrick Mahomes and did enough the rest of the way to get themselves a 28-25 victory over the Vikings.
The Chiefs got on the board first in this one, courtesy of a 35-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill. Hill beat his former Chiefs’ teammate, Bashaud Breeland, on the play and hauled in the pass for the score. The extra point gave the home team a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest.
The Vikings responded with a 26-yard field goal from Greg Joseph on their first possession to cut the lead to 7-3. The drive saw a couple of nice gains from Kirk Cousins to Irv Smith Jr., but it ultimately stalled out in the goal-to-go situation.
The Chiefs’ offense had no such problems, as Mahomes marched them into the end zone again, this time hitting former Vikings’ tight end Blake Bell on a five-yard score to extend the Kansas City lead to 14-3.
Rookie Shane Buechele then led the Chiefs on a long drive to close the half, capping the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Kemp to make the score 21-3 going into the locker room at halftime.
Kellen Mond came out to start the second half for the Vikings, and on his second pass attempt he threw an interception. But, on the next play, the Chiefs attempted to run an option and fumbled the pitch attempt, with Cameron Dantzler recovering for a turnover for Minnesota.
The Vikings took advantage of the second chance and scored their first offensive touchdown of the preseason, courtesy of rookie running back A.J. Rose Jr.! He took a handoff from Mond and sprinted 32 yards for a score, with Joseph’s extra point pulling the Vikings to within 21-10.
But, the good vibes didn’t last long, as the Chiefs added a touchdown on their next drive courtesy of a 56-yard screen pass to Derrick Gore. That made it a three-score game once again with the Chiefs extending their lead to 28-10.
On the ensuing possession, Mond turned it over again as he got demolished on a pass attempt and the ball came free. It was ruled a fumble on the field and the Chiefs recovered to take the ball back once again.
Once the Vikings got the ball back, Mond put together a really solid drive, hitting Whop Philyor and Brandon Dillon for long gains. After a penalty on the Chiefs on a fourth down play, the Vikings set themselves up with first-and-goal from the 2-yard line, and then. . .nothing, because the Chiefs stood up and stopped the Vikings on four straight plays to keep them out of the end zone.
But, on the first play of the Chiefs’ drive, Buechele threw a pass directly to Parry Nickerson, and he did the rest for the Vikings’ second pick-six of the preseason! He only had to return it 10 yards, but he got it there. The Vikings went for two and were successful on a pass from Mond to Myron Mitchell to make the score 28-18.
After forcing the Chiefs to punt again, Mond put together a really nice drive starting from the Minnesota 11. He pushed the team all the way down the field, with Shane Zylstra drawing a pass interference penalty in the end zone to set up first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. A.J. Rose then got his second touchdown of the night, and the Joseph extra point made it 28-25 with less than a minute and a half left.
Unfortunately, Joseph’s onside kick was recovered by the Chiefs and they knelt out the clock to secure the victory. At least the Vikings made it exciting at the end.
Mond had his best game of the preseason by far in this one, finishing 16-of-23 for 196 yards. Yes, he had the two turnovers, but he also looked really good on the final drive and would probably look a whole lot better with first-teamers out on the field. We’ll have more discussion about this one over the next couple of days.
That wraps up the preseason for both of these teams. They’ll both start the 2021 regular season on 12 September. The Vikings, as we know, will take on the Cincinnati Bengals as part of the early window on opening Sunday, while the Chiefs will play host to the Cleveland Browns in one of the Sunday late games.
Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of tonight’s game, and everything throughout this preseason, right here at The Daily Norseman!