Preview: Minnesota Vikings vs. Kansas City Chiefs
WHAT I’LL BE WATCHING FOR
The fact that both teams are 0-3 would indicate at first glance that they’re evenly matched. That’s hardly the case and that is what has Chiefs fans worried.
While in the passing game, the Vikings are only better than the Chiefs and the Jaguars, they are much better running the ball (third in the league) than the Chiefs (a respectable ninth in the league). On defense, the Vikings are the fourth best team against the run while Kansas City is fifth worst team in the league. But against the pass, the Vikings are fourth from the bottom while the Chiefs are only twelfth.
You see a recipe here?
Lots of Adrian Peterson with a dash of Toby Gerhart and then some more Adrian Peterson.
The good news is that Kansas City has been blown out in two of their three games this season by a combined score of 89-10 and the other they lost 17-20. Both the Bills and the Lions were up by 20 points at the half and the Chiefs could only manage 17 points against San Diego.
So what I’m saying is if we score twenty points in the fist half, we’ll have a pretty good chance at a tie game.
Seriously, though, if there was ever a game the Vikings needed to boost their confidence and have the leeway to try and figure out their second half woes, this would be it.
The Chiefs have yet to lead in a game this season while the Vikings have shown they can put up some points on offense and completely shut teams down on defense. They can do so, that is, until they start shooting themselves in the foot.
On offense, the Chiefs don’t have many weapons that really scare you; they’ve lost running back Jamal Charles and the passing game is anything but formidable with quarterback Matt Cassel tossing the ball to receivers Dwayne Bowe (who drops a lot of balls) and Steve Breaston and tight end Leonard Pope.
Cassel has thrown five interceptions so far this year (so maybe our defensive backs can get in some ball-catching practice), he’s been sacked five times, and fumbled twice, losing one.
A defense that gives up 89 points in its first two games has got some problems and when you look at the Chief’s depth chart on defense, three names stand out: linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali and cornerback Brandon Flowers.
Here’s the key to the game: If the Vikings can just double their scoring in the first half, say 40 points or so, they should be able to protect themselves from a second-half collapse. 😉
One final point: Though I remain convinced that it’s too early to start Christian Ponder, it is an awful shame we can’t reschedule this game for later in the season when the rookie might be ready to take the reigns.
The Vikings travel to Kansas City, Missouri to play the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff is at 12:00 CST and the game will be broadcast on Fox TV.
A pair of 0-3 teams merit the C team: Your play-by-play guy will be Gus Johnson and Charles Davis will be your analyst with Tim Brewster (yep, that one) serving as the sideline “reporter.”
The radio broadcast is on KFAN-AM 1130/KTLK 100.3-FM locally with your usual crew of play-by-play guy Paul Allen, analyst Pete Bercich and sideline reporter Greg Coleman. Pre-game show starts at 10 AM CST.
Vikings: Running back Adrian Peterson (calf), tight end Jimmmy Kleinsasser (elbow), defensive tackle Kevin Williams (foot), cornerbacks Asher Allen (toe) and Chris Cook (groin), middle linebacker E.J. Henderson (knee), and safety Tyrell Johnson (hip) are all probable.
Opponent: Defensive end Brandon Blair (illness) is probable; receiver Jonathan Baldwin (thumb) is questionable as are cornerback Brandon Flowers (ankle) safety Jon McGraw (shin).
Happy Birthday today to cornerback/punt returner Marcus Sherels (24)!
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY
Happy Birthday yesterday to rookie tight end Allen Reisner (23)!
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