It is, once again, that time of the week where we gather some intel on the Minnesota Vikings’ next opponent ahead of Sunday’s game. This week, I got the opportunity to sit down and exchange some questions with Tom Childs from Arrowhead Pride, SB Nation’s home for everything relating to Kansas City Chiefs football.
Once Tom posts the questions he sent me and my answers over at Arrowhead Pride, I’ll post them here for everyone to check out. In the meantime, here are the questions that I sent his way along with his responses.
1) The Chiefs’ offense, for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to be quite as explosive as they’ve been in past years. Is there some sort of a blank space in the Kansas City offense or are there other issues afoot?
I see what you did there! I promise I won’t read ahead but I am guessing there are more Taylor Swift nuggets in the rest of the questions.
It’s been a really odd start to the season for the Chiefs’ offense. It’s almost like the hangover from losing Tyreek Hill has come 12 months too late. I mentioned Tyreek Hill because I think the stink of the Chiefs passing attack has mainly been down to his replacements — oddly after a year in which the Chiefs won a Super Bowl...
For one reason or another, none of them can get separation in man coverage (see the Jets game) and they also struggle with reading zone defenses.
Their issues are affecting Patrick Mahomes too. Typically he has been a player that has enormous amounts of trust in his guys — but not this year. There were a couple of occasions against the Jets in which he should have pulled the trigger to a receiver who was about to come open, but it seemed like he didn’t trust that the receiver saw the same thing he did, instead opting to tuck and run.
The bottom line is that the receivers are an issue right now — and if they can’t get their act together, then the Chiefs cannot win the Super Bowl.
2) This past offseason, the Chiefs lost their offensive coordinator (and former Vikings running backs coach) Eric Bienemy to Washington. Has the offense changed significantly as a result, and if so do you think the Chiefs will eventually shake it off and get back to being what we’re used to seeing?
I was right! 2 for 2.
I don’t think (tentatively) anything has changed schematically since Bienemy left. We are still seeing a lot of the things that have been used to. Runs out of shotgun, short passing attack and of course Mahomes and Kelce ad-libbing.
As I mentioned in question one, the receivers have been the biggest reason as to why the Chiefs’ offense has stalled so much this year.
Perhaps a change of plan is required. Isiah Pacheco impressed against the Jets and came up trumps when needed. If I was Nagy and Reid, I would steer into that for a little while — then maybe in time, the threat of a running game may open things up for the Chiefs’ passing game.
3) On the other hand, Kansas City’s defense has been stout all season long, despite star defensive lineman Chris Jones getting a late start because of a contract holdout. Does it feel like everything has changed on that side of the ball for the Chiefs?
Right, you’ve stumped me! I’m going to say ‘Everything Has Changed’ but I’m not entirely sure so I guess I am 2 out of 3 now.
And yes, everything has changed. The Kansas City Chiefs are a defensive football team right now.
Words I thought I wouldn’t have to say for another 15 years or so. But the truth of the matter is that the Chiefs are more trustworthy defensively than they are offensively.
Last season there was a big injection of youth into the Chiefs defense. Rookies Trent McDuffie, George Karlaftis, Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson and Brian Cook all came in and made an impact almost immediately. A boost from rookies to add to a defence that already had talents like Chris Jones, Nick Bolton and L’Jarius Sneed. The cohesion between the rookies and the vets led to a unit that gradually got better as the season went on.
Thankfully, that form has carried through into the new season.
In previous seasons, had the offense performed how it has been this year, then the Chiefs would have almost certainly lost more games than they won. Nowadays, the Chiefs are winning because of their defense, not in spite of it.
4) Give us one player on each side of the ball that Vikings fans might not know about but the coaches know will be trouble when they walk in.
3 for 4!
Defensively I am going for second-year rookie cornerback Joshua Williams. Unlike fellow 2022 cornerbacks Jaylen Watson and Trent McDuffie, he doesn’t have that standout play yet but that’s not to say that he hasn’t been as impactful. A reliable third cornerback whose name rarely gets called on the broadcast. That’s what you want from a young cornerback, right?
Flipping it back to the offence, I will mention Rashee Rice. The rookie receiver has had some success already this year. The reason it is noteworthy is that rookie receivers typically do not get a look in with Andy Reid’s offense. Perhaps the lack of success from the veterans has led towards the Chiefs getting Rice more involved than expected. All I know is that I would much rather see Rice taking snaps rather than some of his peers.
5) It’s rare to see the Vikings as an underdog at home, but that’s where the DraftKings Sportsbook has them in this one, as the Chiefs are currently favored by 5.5 points. Should there be any hope for Vikings fans, even in their wildest dreams, that they can keep Kansas City from covering?
Nope, you’ve got me there. 3 out of 5 it is. I guess I need to start listening to Taylor’s back catalogue.
As long as the Vikings have the combination of Cousins and Jefferson, the Vikings will always have a chance. That’s how much I fear those two as a pairing. I don’t think the Chiefs’ young cornerbacks have played a receiver quite like JJ, so I’m intrigued by the plan that Steve Spagnuolo has for him.
Kansas City aren’t particularly great at covering the spread, so although I do think that the Chiefs will run out winners, I am staying well clear of spread betting on this one.
However, the over/under at 52.5 looks very enticing. I’m hammering the over in that one.
This promises to be a great game with two offenses that can score for fun.
Thanks for having me Vikes fans!
Thanks to Tom for taking the time to answer our questions. . .and, yes, I did lean into the Taylor Swift thing a bit. I actually got references into all five questions. . .at least according to her track list from Wikipedia.