When the fourth quarter started Sunday, the Vikings had a 13-0 lead that felt like a 30-point difference. The Chiefs, without their best player, running back Jamaal Charles, seemed hard-pressed to get on the scoreboard, let alone make it a game.
But with four minutes left in the game, the Vikings were hanging on for dear life. They would hold on for a 16-10 win in a game at TCF Bank Stadium that shouldn’t have been close.
Kansas City finally got on the board with 13:15 left when kicker Cairo Santos split the uprights from 48 yards out. After quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw his second interception of the game, the Chiefs quickly advanced into Vikings territory again.
On third-and-10, the Vikings blitzed seven defenders. The Chiefs were ready. Quarterback Alex Smith fired a quick screen pass to wide receiver Albert Wilson, who emerged from a wall of Chiefs blockers to race 42 yards for a touchdown that made the score 13-10.
The Vikings regained a little more breathing room with a 45-yard field goal from Blair Walsh that increased their lead to 16-10. But a 37-yard catch and run by Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce quickly moved the Chiefs into Vikings territory again. Rookie defensive end Danielle Hunter, starting in place of sick starter Everson Griffen, bailed them out.
Hunter punched the ball out of the hands of Chiefs running back Carchandrick West and fellow defensive end Brian Robison pounced on the loose ball to end the threat.
The Chiefs got the ball back on more time, but Smith threw four straight incompletions.
The Vikings offense had it going early, moving into the red zone three times in the first half. Their first two trips ended with an interception and a 24-yard field by Walsh. In the second quarter, Bridgewater finally got them into the end zone, hitting tight end Kyle Rudolph in the end zone to give them a 10-0 lead.
Kansas City, meanwhile, gained just 51 yards in the first half. The visitors didn’t cross midfield until late in the second quarter, getting as far as the Vikings’ 46-yard line.
The Chiefs struggled to run the ball without Charles, but they had company.
Adrian Peterson was handed the ball nine times in the first quarter and had a rushing total of negative-one yard. By halftime, he was at 16 yards on 17 carries. He also fumbled in the red zone in the second quarter, but center Joe Berger bailed him out.
Peterson found some success in the second half and finished with 60 yards, but he got banged up in the fourth quarter, injuring his left hand, and was replaced by backup Matt Asiata.
The Vikings, who improved to 3-2, travel to Detroit to play the Lions next Sunday.