STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
RB Priest Holmes has only three 100-yard games this year, but the Chiefs have won all three. Considering that Minnesota is 1-9 in two seasons under Mike Tice when giving up a 100-yard runner, the Chiefs would love to run Holmes often in this one. With 22 rushing TDs this year, he is only three shy of tying Emmitt Smith's single-season rushing record, a mark the Chiefs want Holmes to get.
QB Trent Green, who achieved a perfect 158.3 QB rating in the rout of Detroit last week, has had triple-digit quarterback ratings in seven of his last nine starts in which he's completed 65 percent of his passes for 17 TDs and just three interceptions. The Chiefs are 11-3 in games when Green has a QB rating of 100-plus.
TE Tony Gonzalez has caught 10 touchdowns in Kansas City's last 12 games. He caught six balls for 63 yards and two TDs in Kansas City's last game against Minnesota (1999).
The Chiefs have to show the same kind of run-pass efficiency they had against Detroit last week to win what likely will be a high-scoring game in Minnesota. The Vikes defense is more vulnerable to the pass than the run, but the Chiefs have to establish Priest Holmes to set up Green's play-action passing game. Defensively, the Chiefs have to pressure Daunte Culpepper without leaving themselves vulnerable to his big runs and bootleg plays, which killed the Chiefs in the kicking they took in Denver. Controlling Randy Moss is always a challenge, as he's put up some nice numbers against the Chiefs secondary in the 1999 meeting and again in several preseason contests.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Vikings WR Randy Moss vs. Chiefs CB Eric Warfield. Warfield got a confidence boost with a solid showing against Moss in a two-day training camp workout in Wisconsin this summer. But when the lights of national TV come on, Moss comes out and should give Warfield more than he can handle in live fire. Warfield will get safety help over the top, but it may not be enough.
Vikings offensive line vs. Chiefs rush unit -- The Chiefs pass rush was most effective in a meaningless preseason game this past August. If they can do it again when it really counts, they'll take a major step toward winning.
Chiefs C Casey Wiegmann vs. Vikes NT Chris Hovan. These guys exchanged words in training camp, and they just flat don't like each other. Wiegmann and Pro Bowl G Will Shields should be up to the task of keeping Hovan off Trent Green.
Starting LB Mike Maslowski (questionable, knee) will likely miss a fifth straight game, and his absence is a factor in the Chiefs' woeful run defense. Starting SS Greg Wesley (questionable, thigh contusion) did not practice Wednesday, but likely will play. LB Monty Beisel, a key special teams contributor, will miss a third straight game with a groin injury. WR Marc Boerigter, a key reserve and strong gunner on punt coverage, is very doubtful with a sprained ankle. Backup DT Eric Downing is very questionable with a groin injury.