Vikings-Chiefs game plan

Both teams will try to force the other into passing the ball more than they want. With Adrian Peterson, that is a taller task facing the Chiefs. Get the feeling from both camps, along with two matchups that demand close attention.

VIKINGS

The Vikings need to lean on their fourth-ranked run defense to put the game into Chiefs' QB Matt Cassel's slumping hands. The Chiefs rank ninth in rushing and average 4.6 yards per carry. Dexter McCluster averages 6.6 a carry. Cassel, however, directs the 31st-ranked passing attack. His 65.5 passer rating is 31st in the league, and his 53.6 rating on third down is 29th.

Similarly, the Chiefs need to be able to control Adrian Peterson. They can't allow him to keep snapping off runs that set up time of possession and keep the defense on the field. After three games there's a minus-9:26 difference in time of possession for the Chiefs.

CHIEFS

The Chiefs just need to win a game - it's a simple plan for a team in a complicated situation. They cannot continue to lose and expect to make something out of the 2011 season; the hole they've dug would be too deep.

To make that happen they need improved play on offense, defense and special teams. There is not just one area of concern - they've all failed in the first three games. If there was a single aspect that they need to improve it would be the running game - doing it and stopping it. The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing last year and they aren't anywhere near pacing at that level in 2011; it's hard to do without your best runner in Jamaal Charles.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, who was held to 5 yards on five carries in the second half of last week's loss to the Lions, vs. Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson, who has a team-high 22 tackles – Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the team will recommit to feeding the ball more to Peterson, who has 14 fewer second-half carries despite halftime leads of 10, 17 and 20 points. Peterson has struggled historically against 3-4 defenses, which the Chiefs play. Gap integrity is a must against Peterson, who only needs a little crease to break a long run.

If the Chiefs believe they have any chance of slowing down the Vikings running game, it must come with a big performance from Johnson on the inside of their 3-4 scheme. Peterson has the athletic tools to run between the tackles or crack it outside. Johnson has the speed, quickness and power to fill the gaps, but also run to the outside and slow down the ball carrier.

Vikings DE Jared Allen, who is second in the league in sacks with 4 1/2, vs. Chiefs LT Branden Albert Despite the record, Allen has been a force all season. His speed rush is as good as it's ever been. He's also got a quick move back to the inside. Albert is the first-round draft pick the Chiefs ended up with when they traded Allen before the 2008 draft. The Chiefs got the 17th overall pick and used it to move up two spots and take Albert, who was a guard coming out of college.

Call this a karma matchup for the Chiefs. Albert is a solid pass protector, who seldom gets beat to the outside, but does give up inside pass rushes from time to time. Allen has the skills to go inside and outside. Both players should be psyched for this matchup.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" The Vikings need to lean on their fourth-ranked run defense to put the game into Chiefs' QB Matt Cassel's slumping hands. The Chiefs rank ninth in rushing and average 4.6 yards per carry. Dexter McCluster averages 6.6 a carry. Cassel, however, directs the 31st-ranked passing attack. His 65.5 passer rating is 31st in the league, and his 53.6 rating on third down is 29th. Similarly, the Chiefs need to be able to control Adrian Peterson. They can't allow him to keep snapping off runs that set up time of possession and keep the defense on the field. After three games there's a minus-9:26 difference in time of possession for the Chiefs. The Chiefs just need to win a game - it's a simple plan for a team in a complicated situation. They cannot continue to lose and expect to make something out of the 2011 season; the hole they've dug would be too deep. To make that happen they need improved play on offense, defense and special teams. There is not just one area of concern - they've all failed in the first three games. If there was a single aspect that they need to improve it would be the running game - doing it and stopping it. The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing last year and they aren't anywhere near pacing at that level in 2011; it's hard to do without your best runner in Jamaal Charles. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the team will recommit to feeding the ball more to Peterson, who has 14 fewer second-half carries despite halftime leads of 10, 17 and 20 points. Peterson has struggled historically against 3-4 defenses, which the Chiefs play. Gap integrity is a must against Peterson, who only needs a little crease to break a long run. If the Chiefs believe they have any chance of slowing down the Vikings running game, it must come with a big performance from Johnson on the inside of their 3-4 scheme. Peterson has the athletic tools to run between the tackles or crack it outside. Johnson has the speed, quickness and power to fill the gaps, but also run to the outside and slow down the ball carrier. Despite the record, Allen has been a force all season. His speed rush is as good as it's ever been. He's also got a quick move back to the inside. Albert is the first-round draft pick the Chiefs ended up with when they traded Allen before the 2008 draft. The Chiefs got the 17th overall pick and used it to move up two spots and take Albert, who was a guard coming out of college. Call this a karma matchup for the Chiefs. Albert is a solid pass protector, who seldom gets beat to the outside, but does give up inside pass rushes from time to time. Allen has the skills to go inside and outside. Both players should be psyched for this matchup. 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