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Five Things to Watch on Sunday | Chiefs vs. Vikings

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By Matt McMullen, Chiefs.com

 

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Kansas City Chiefs will look to make it four victories in a row on Sunday afternoon with a tilt against the Minnesota Vikings.

Here are five things to keep in mind heading into game day.

1. Here’s a look at the final injury report for both teams.

The Chiefs officially listed three players as “Questionable” heading into Sunday’s game, with those being linebacker Nick Bolton (ankle), offensive lineman Wanya Morris (hip) and defensive tackle Matt Dickerson (knee). For what it’s worth, all three players participated in Friday’s practice, although both Bolton and Dickerson were listed as “limited.”

If Bolton can’t go for a third-straight week, linebacker Drue Tranquill will likely once again handle a larger role.

As for the Vikings, they officially listed four players as “Questionable” on Friday: linebacker Brian Asamoah (toe), safety Lewis Cine (hamstring), outside linebacker Marcus Davenport (ankle) and quarterback Nick Mullens (back). The most notable of those designations is Davenport, who played 63 percent of the Vikings’ defensive snaps and recorded a sack in Week 4.

Additionally, Vikings’ starting center Garrett Bradbury is set to play on Sunday after missing the last three weeks with a back injury.

2. No team blitzes more than the Vikings.

Minnesota has blitzed at a 57 percent clip this season, which is by far the highest rate in the NFL and more than seven percentage points more than the next-closest team. The Vikings blitzed Buccaneers’ quarterback Baker Mayfield 21 times in Week 1, Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts 16 times in Week 2, Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert a staggering 42 times in Week 3, and Panthers’ quarterback Bryce Young 18 times in Week 4.

Conversely, Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been blitzed the least of any quarterback in the NFL this season at a rate of just 14.8 percent. No team has blitzed Mahomes more than 10 times in a single game this year, and when looking back at last season, Mahomes threw a league-most 17 touchdowns vs. the blitz. It sets up a fascinating decision for the Vikings and Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores, who blitzed Mahomes on 59 percent of his dropbacks when Flores was the Dolphins’ head coach in 2020.

Interestingly enough, despite Minnesota’s lofty blitz rate this season, the Vikings have the fifth-fewest total pressures (57) of any team. They still feature a notable pass-rush, however, led by star edge rusher Danielle Hunter, whose five sacks rank fifth in the NFL. Additionally, Minnesota tallied a season-high five sacks vs. Carolina last week.

3. Minnesota features an explosive offense with numerous playmakers.

The Vikings have racked up some big numbers this season, as quarterback Kirk Cousins leads the NFL in completions (108) and passing touchdowns (11) while wide receiver Justin Jefferson tops the league in receiving yards (543). As a team, Minnesota owns the most passing plays of 20+ yards in the NFL (19), amassing the league’s No. 9 total offense at 370.8 yards-per-game.

Their attack goes beyond just Jefferson, too, as rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison and fellow wide receiver K.J. Osborn are each averaging more than 14 yards-per-reception this season.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that Minnesota has turned the ball over a league-most 11 times this season. Specifically, a league-most three of those turnovers have taken place in the red zone.

Regardless, Kansas City – which has allowed less than half of opponent red zone trips to result in touchdowns this season – will aim to continue that trend on Sunday.

4. The Chiefs’ rushing attack was outstanding last week.

Kansas City piled up 204 rushing yards vs. New York last week, marking the eighth-most for any team in a single game this season and the Chiefs’ most since Week 6 of the 2020 campaign. The man behind the bulk of that yardage was tailback Isiah Pacheco, who set career-bests in rushing yards (115), rushes of 10+ yards (4) and total yards from scrimmage (158).

It’s worth noting that Minnesota has been successful defending the run this year, as the Vikings are surrendering just 3.5 yards-per-carry despite facing the fourth-most rushing attempts (127) of any team. The Vikings allowed Philadelphia to tally a whopping 259 rushing yards against them in Week 3, but in their other three games combined, opponents have recorded just 186 rushing yards.

5. Kansas City hasn’t allowed more than 21 points in a game this season.

The Chiefs’ defense has been the most consistently dominant group in the NFL this season, as they are the only team in the league to hold opponents under 22 points in each of their four games. Additionally, Kansas City is also the only team to not allow the opposition to score more than 18 offensive points in a single game this year.

Minnesota may very well be Kansas City’s toughest test yet in terms of offensive firepower, but as they have demonstrated all season long, the Chiefs have proven to be up for the challenge.

Catch the Chiefs and Vikings at 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS.

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