Vikings Scouting Report (From Kansas City POV)

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When the Chiefs run

EDGE >> VIKINGS

With Jamaal Charles out for the season, the Chiefs could divvy up the work between Charcandrick West and Knile Davis, with former practice squad player Spencer Ware being a wildcard. With Charles out, they might try to pound the ball like they did during a three-game stretch last year when Charles was nicked up. The Vikings, who run a 4-3 front, are starting a promising rookie at inside linebacker in Eric Kendricks (6-0, 232), who Minnesota liked enough to deal away their starter at the position, Gerald Hodges, to San Francisco a week ago. Kendricks and versatile, athletic outside linebacker Anthony Barr (6-5, 255) will eventually form a very strong duo at the second level. The Vikings have a stout duo at defensive tackle in Sharrif Floyd (6-3, 311) and Linval Joseph (6-4, 329), who are solid against the run.

Chiefs’ top rusher No. Yds. Avg. TD
Alex Smith 26 109 4.2 0

When the Chiefs pass

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EDGE >> CHIEFS

The Chiefs have surrendered a league-high 22 sacks, while the Vikings ranks 24th in sacks with eight. The offensive line has shown improvement but remains vulnerable on stunts and blitz pickup, and without Charles, it will be interesting to see if teams are more daring when it comes to blitzing Alex Smith, whose accuracy was uneven in an 18-17 loss to the Bears last week. One guy they need to block is defensive end Everson Griffen (6-3, 273), who has three sacks. The Vikings draw up some creative blitz packages and also are not shy about bringing pressure up the middle, so the Chiefs need to be prepared to counter that with quick passes. Safety Harrison Smith (6-2, 214) is someone to be wary off; he’s smart and tough and one of the game’s very best two-way safeties. But they might be wise to pick on cornerback Xavier Rhodes (6-1, 217), who has been flagged for seven penalties in the first four games of the season.

 Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said lack of execution doomed team in 38-28 loss to Packers.
Chiefs’ top QB C A Yds. TD-I
Alex Smith 109 173 1,291 5-3
Chiefs’ top WR No. Yds. Avg. TD
Jeremy Maclin 36 483 13.4 1

When the Vikings run

EDGE >> VIKINGS

The Vikings are a run-heavy team, and even at age 30, Adrian Peterson (6-1, 220) remains one of the league’s elite running backs. His mix of balance, power and top-end burst is freakish. He requires the Barry Sanders treatment, as defenses must swarm the ballcarrier and be disciplined in playing the cutback. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t even matter. He currently ranks eighth in the league but boasts a very respectable five yards per carry. He is not a perfect player, however. He has fumbled twice and occasionally struggles in pass protection. Like the Chiefs, the Vikings aren’t afraid to mix in three tight-end sets. A key to beating Minnesota is stopping the run and forcing Bridgewater to stand in the pocket and deliver the ball downfield, so expect a heavy commitment to stopping the run early.

Vikings’ top rusher No. Yds. Avg. TD
Adrian Peterson 75 372 5.0 3

When the Vikings pass

EDGE >> CHIEFS

Second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (6-2, 215) does not have elite arm talent, but he’s smart and poised. He generally throws short-to-intermediate passes and is most comfortable throwing in rhythm. He is generally accurate on such passes, and the Vikings do a nice job of creating quick, easy throws for him through formations and motions. Bridgewater’s favorite target is speedy deep threat Mike Wallace (6-0, 205), but the deep ball is not Bridgewater’s game; his accuracy wavers downfield. The Vikings’ offensive line also struggles in pass protection, as they are vulnerable on blitzes and stunts. The Vikings have surrendered 13 sacks, which ranks 21st in the league, while the Chiefs rank 13th in sacks with 11. They are also vulnerable on the edges, which means Justin Houston, Tamba Hali (if he plays) and Dee Ford need to take advantage of their matchups. That especially applies to Houston, who is facing a fourth-round rookie in T.J. Clemmings (6-5, 309) who has talent but is raw, technically. If the Chiefs can somehow get out to a decisive early lead, it could spell trouble for the Vikings.

Vikings’ top QB C A Yds. TD-I
Teddy Bridgewater 77 115 774 2-2
Vikings’ top WR No. Yds. Avg. TD
Mike Wallace 20 233 11.7 1

Special teams

EDGE >> VIKINGS

The Chiefs’ Cairo Santos has converted 11 of 14 field goals (including a ludicrous 66-yard attempt, which he missed) while the Vikings’ Blair Walsh is 6 of 8. Walsh, unlike Santos, has missed an extra point, and the touchback percentage is even. The Chiefs’ Dustin Colquitt has dropped 11 punts inside the 20, compared to 9 for Jeff Locke, who has the edge in fair catches (9 to 4). The Vikings have higher kick- and punt-return averages, and while the Chiefs do a better job of covering kicks, the Vikings do better covering punts. It’s close, but the Vikings have the edge.

Coaching

EDGE >> CHIEFS

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is in his second year on the job. He impressed people with the job he did last year, guiding the Vikings to a competitive 7-9 record despite missing their best player (Peterson) and starting a rookie quarterback. George Edwards is the Vikings’ defensive coordinator, but Zimmer is a respected defensive mind who is instilling physicality and toughness in his team. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Norv Turner is one of the league’s best who does an outstanding job of taking advantage of Bridgewater’s talents. So the Vikings’ staff is solid, but at the top, Reid has an experienced edge on Zimmer.

X-factor

EDGE >> VIKINGS

One of the hardest things to do in the NFL is rally back from an early hole. When things go south for you in this league, it’s difficult to pull together and get everybody back in the same page — especially without your best player. That, plus the fact the Vikings are at home and coming off a bye week, is more than enough to put the Chiefs’ backs against the wall this week.

Bottom line: Vikings 23-20

To be clear, a victory certainly isn’t out of the question for the Chiefs, who match up well with the Vikings on paper, even without Charles. This isn’t a 1-4 team, talent-wise, so if they’re mentally tough, they’ll keep it close and/or surprise people this week. And if they can get an early lead, they absolutely could put themselves in position to close the game out by teeing off on the Vikings’ middling passing game. But after the Chiefs’ loss to a struggling Chicago team, you just can’t pick them to win this week, even though the Vikings have a less-than-flattering loss on their schedule to San Francisco

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article39597939.html#storylink=cpy
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