Sunday Showdown: Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
The Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs will square off in an interesting Week 9 matchup. The Chiefs will most likely be playing their second game with backup quarterback Matt Moore under center in place of last year’s MVP, Patrick Mahomes, who is still listed as doubtful with a knee injury.
Despite being without Mahomes last week against a tough Packers defense, Moore stepped up and held his own with 267 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Chiefs still came up short, losing 31-24 at home. They will look to bounce back this week against the Vikings to avoid their second loss without their starter.
On A Roll
For the Vikings, their quarterback situation was in question for the first month of the season, with Kirk Cousins underperforming and receiving a lot of scrutiny from everyone, including teammates. Cousins has bounced back in a huge way, winning offensive player of the month for the NFC. He has now thrown for 1,997 yards, 13 touchdowns, and three interceptions this season, as the Vikings have gone on to win their last four games straight.
Adam Thielen, one of the Vikings’ top receivers, is currently listed as questionable for this weekend, which will most likely cause Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook to be the focal points of Minnesota’s offense.
Diggs has 37 receptions so far for 706 yards and four touchdowns this season. Dalvin Cook has led the team on the ground with 156 carries for 823 yards and nine touchdowns.
This is the season Vikings fans have been waiting for from Cook since his rookie season. He has been plagued by injuries during his young career, but after a huge game two weeks ago at Detroit, where he compiled 142 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, this season seems to finally be his breakout year.
Without Their Star
The leading rusher this year for the Chiefs has been veteran LeSean McCoy, who was picked up this past offseason. With the Kansas City offense focused around Mahomes and the passing game, McCoy has just 69 carries this season for 362 yards and two touchdowns. If Mahomes does not start again this week, McCoy could be in for a busy game.
Travis Kelce has been Mahomes’ primary target through the air this season with Tyreek Hill missing the beginning of the year. Hill has already had a big influence since returning, but Kelce will continue to play a big part. He has 42 receptions this season for 604 yards and two touchdowns.
What To Expect
While the Chiefs offense has been impressive again this season, averaging 28.3 points per game along with 403 yards, they have also been allowing 401 yards and 22.6 points per game on defense. The Vikings are averaging 26 points per game while allowing just 16.5. With their recent boost in production on offense, the Vikings are putting up 409 yards per game while their defense is allowing 336.1.
One key stat to watch in this game is the Kansas City rush defense so far this season. With Thielen coming off injury this week and Cook potentially getting a bigger workload, the Chiefs have allowed an average of 145 rushing yards per game. This could be the difference in the game if Kansas City can’t get the Vikings offense off the field.
You may think this game will come down to if Mahomes plays or not, but I wouldn’t be so quick to count the Vikings out. Moore played well last week in his absence, and while Mahomes would be a big improvement, I think the Vikings can get the win either way. Look for Minnesota to dominate the ground in this one, control the tempo of the game, and take the win.