MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings controlled much of the game against the Chiefs but still found themselves in a heart-pounding, hairy situation in the fourth quarter.
Anxiety built as Kansas City tried to overcome a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs pulled within three, but the Vikings held on 16-10.
“I had to get my pacemaker readjusted after that one, but we fought today, we did some really good things,” Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said.
Blair Walsh’s third field goal of the day put Minnesota (3-2) back up by six with 4:46 left to play and closed out the game with help from a fumble forced byDanielle Hunter that was recovered byBrian Robison.
“The only thing I could think about is making sure I secured the ball,” Robison said. “In those situations, you don’t want to try to pick up the ball in traffic, so as soon as I saw the ball, I just said, cover it up.”
Hunter made his first career start in place of Everson Griffen (declared inactive Sunday morning because of an illness).
“I was going in and saw the running back coming and he had the ball kind of loose,” Hunter said. “I just decided to reach for the ball and wrap him up. I got him down and didn’t realize the ball was out until I got up. B-Rob got it.”
The turnover halted a drive that started with a 37-yard gain on a pass to Travis Kelce.
The Chiefs (1-5) forced a punt and got the ball back with 2:46 to play, but the Vikings forced four straight incomplete passes by Alex Smith.
“I don’t like finishing like that,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “They had the ball in their hand at the end of the game and still had a chance to win the game. I’m already going bald, and that stressed me out a little bit more.”
The bottom line, however, is the Vikings won a grinding game, the kind that’s slipped away in fourth quarters in the past few years, for their sixth consecutive home victory.
“In years past, we’ve been in those same situations and haven’t been able to make the play to pull the game off,” Robison said. “That’s the think I love about this team, no matter what situation we’re in, no matter how far behind, how far we’re up, we are even keel and do what we’re supposed to do.”
Kyle Rudolph added, “These are games you have to win to get where we want to go.”
“A lot of games are going to be close in the fourth quarter,” Rudolph said. “Last year we had a couple, so that was big for us this offseason, going through why did we win games, why did we lose games. Today would be another example of why we won.”
“Man beater” on TD: Rudolph provided the Vikings lone TD of the day, extending to snag a high route over the middle that was safely placed by Teddy Bridgewater.
“It’s definitely a man-beater call,” Rudolph said. “They had man coverage, kind of what we anticipated from them. Teddy just made a perfect throw in a window. As soon as I turned my head, the ball was there.”
Bridgewater finished 17-of-31 passing for 249 yards with one TD and two interceptions for a passer rating of 65.1.
Eric Kendricks made his second career start and was credited with 10 tackles (press box tally), a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and pass defended.
Tough to run: The Vikings struggled to get the run game going but kept going back for more.
Adrian Peterson rushed 26 times for a total net of 60 yards, but did break free for a 23-yarder on Minnesota’s first play of the second half. He also converted a critical fourth-and-1 with a 3-yard gain in the second quarter.
“You look at the yards and you wouldn’t think he’s satisfied and he’s happy with how things played out, but I am because ultimately we had a job to do: pound the rock and be able to make plays in the pass game, score points and come out with a W,” Peterson said. “That’s ultimately what happened.”
Zimmer said he didn’t think the Vikings “blocked good enough” to create enough seams.
Matt Asiata added 27 yards on five carries, and the Vikings finished with 84 rush yards on 35 attempts, although five negative yards on three kneel-downs are included in the stats.
The Vikings also were tough on the run against a Chiefs team trying to fill in for the loss of Jamaal Charles to a torn ACL. Kansas City gained 57 yards on
Back in action: Jarius Wright was more involved this week after being limited in Denver by a hand injury. Wright had two catches for 69 yards, including a 52-yarder on Minnesota’s first possession.
Safety Andrew Sendejo also returned to the lineup after missing the Vikings game against the Broncos.
“It was good to start fast. You’ve got to start fast on a team like that,” Sendejo said. “They had shown to be a good second half team. We were able to do that. They’re a good team. They’ve had a tough schedule here in the first quarter of the season. We knew it was going to be a dogfight, it was going to take all four quarters and it was going to take everybody.”
“Super Bowl On the 50” tribute: The Vikings honored players and coaches that were on the four Vikings teams that made it to Super Bowls. Players Bobby Bryant, Fred Cox, Carl Eller, Eric Hilgenberg (in honor of the late Wally Hilgenberg), Jim Marshall, Mick Tingelhoff, Ed White, Roy Winston, Ron Yary were able to attend, as were former coach/offensive coordinator Jerry Burns, personnel executive Jerry Reichow and trainer Fred Zamberletti.
Marshall, who was a captain in each of the games, served as honorary captain for the coin toss of Sunday’s game, which was a rematch of Super Bowl IV.
Bud Grant, Alan Page and Paul Krause were unable to attend Sunday but are part of the group that received custom-made throwback jackets with patches from Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX and XI.