Sunday, October 18, 2015

Notebook: Vikings pull out a tight win over Kansas City, 16-10

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The Vikings didn't make it easy, but they managed to finish Sunday's game with a 16-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Daniel House provides his post-game notebook from the matchup and looks ahead to next week. 

Updated: October 18th, 2015 6:40pm

By: Daniel House

The Vikings didn't make it easy, but they managed to finish Sunday's game with a 16-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City had problems as they tried to adjust to life without star running back Jamaal Charles. They ran for just 57 total yards and had trouble passing until the mid-way point of the third quarter. In fact, it took them that long to even cross the Vikings' 46-yard line. Nonetheless, the Vikings offense couldn't sustain any drives. The offensive line still allowed a respectable amount of pressure and two turnovers from Teddy Bridgewater put a damper on several promising drives. Not to mention, Adrian Peterson rushed for just 60 yards on 26 carries. However, the offense managed to be fueled by a breakout seven catch, 129 yard performance from Stefon Diggs. He was one of the lone bright spots of the Vikings offense today. A 4-yard touchdown from Bridgewater to Rudolph, three successful field goal attempts, and a solid defense performance would be enough for the Vikings to squeak out a much-needed win over the Kanas City Chiefs.

Here is my notebook from the game:

Digging the Rookie

Vikings rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs made his first NFL start and flashed the same talent he showed in the preseason and training camp. For a rookie, Diggs runs fantastic routes and breaks them off with great precision. He was on the same page with Teddy Bridgewater and you could see he is one of Bridgewater's new favorite targets. Diggs had seven catches for 129 yards and hauled in several critical passes on third down. He gets open and uses his athletic ability to his advantage in the process. It's hard to see him not garnering more playing time moving forward, especially considering his performances over the last two weeks of play. Jarius Wright also played well and hauled in a 52-yard reception on a fade from Bridgewater in the first quarter. Mike Wallace had a few big drops, but as a whole, the Vikings wide receivers had a great game against a leaky Chiefs secondary.

Offense has trouble finishing drives

The Vikings offense had so much trouble finishing drives throughout this contest. Ron Parker intercepted Teddy Bridgewater in the red zone during the first drive of the game. It was third-and-goal, but Bridgewater threw it behind Kyle Rudolph. In many other instances, the offense couldn't keep drives going. Adrian Peterson carried the ball 26 times, but rushed for just 60 yards. The Vikings were beaten badly up front in the running game and Peterson didn't have many lanes to run through. Not to mention, Bridgewater had a few overthrows and misreads that hurt the flow of the offense. He threw an interception late in the game to Marcus Peters as the offense was gaining life. It gave Kansas City life as they had the ball down a score with a few minutes left to play. Bridgewater had his share of mistakes, but had some bright spots too. He just didn't play his best today and the offense certainly was squandering many opportunities. Nonetheless, the defense was able to compensate and play well enough for the Vikings to squeak out a win.

Interior defensive line dominates the line of scrimmage

Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph absolutely dominated today's game. Each of them were consistently causing disruptions throughout this contest. They had three tackles each and Floyd added a half sack. Floyd single-handledy stopped the Chiefs on a 4th-and-short running play in the third quarter. He shedded the defender and stopped Charcandrick West in the backfield. Joseph did much of the same in the running game and laid several big hits on Alex Smith in the passing game. With the amount of interior pressure being applied, it forced Smith to step into the pocket more than he would have liked. Everson Griffen missed the game with an illness, which meant Danielle Hunter was asked to make his first NFL start. He held up nicely, adding four tackles, a half sack, and a forced fumble. As a whole, the defensive line notched just two sacks, but they managed to apply enough pressure in both the pass and rush games to make an impact.

Captain looks solid in the secondary

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn might have played one of his best games in a Vikings uniform. He was consistently disruptive and physical in the secondary. He had two tackles (one for loss) and a pass defensed late in the game. Munnerlyn played within the system and didn't give up the big plays. His recognition skills have been fantastic this season and he has been diagnosing opposing offensive plays on a consistent basis. It seems as if he may feel more comfortable within this defensive system. The secondary wasn't shredded today, but they still allowed 282 yards passing. Much of this came in the late stages of the game and the stat sheet doesn't do a great job of justifying their performance. In fact, the Chiefs offense didn't cross the Vikings' 46-yard line until the mid-way point of the third quarter.

Kendricks is all over the field

In his first start at middle linebacker since Gerald Hodges was traded to San Francisco, Eric Kendricks led the team in tackles (10). He made several big plays and added a sack in the first half as Alex Smith escaped out of the pocket. Kendricks sideline-to-sideline speed was on display as he made plays in coverage and at the line of scrimmage. He diagnoses the play well and is willing to stick his nose into it, while making the tough hit. Anthony Barr had just one tackle today and committed an uncharacteristic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game. It wasn't a normal day at the office for Barr, but the Vikings linebacker group still performed well as they were fueled by a solid game from Kendricks. That alone is a positive for the Vikings defense moving forward.

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