Little Satisfaction Around Winter Park

The Vikings' many turnovers and mistakes had them working this week to correct their ills in effort to turn their record into a winning one.

Despite carrying a 1-1 record into Sunday's game against Kansas City, few around the Vikings' Winter Park complex this week seem satisfied.

Minnesota took a significant step backward in its 20-17 overtime loss at Detroit on Sunday, committing 12 penalties and turning over the ball five times (including four interceptions). That erased many of the positive feelings that came out of a 24-3 victory over Atlanta in the opener.

An 0-2 Kansas City team that has been outscored 40-13 this season would seem like an ideal opponent for the Vikings but it doesn't figure to be that easy. This will be the Chiefs' home opener and Arrowhead can be an extremely difficult place for opponents.

As of mid-week, it remained unclear who will be the Vikings quarterback.

Tarvaris Jackson, coming off an abysmal performance against the Lions, is the starter when he's healthy, but that isn't the case. In addition to throwing four picks against the Lions, Jackson also suffered a strained groin and his status for Sunday is in doubt.

This could mean that either Brooks Bollinger or Kelly Holcomb will be under center. No matter who gets the call, they are going to need to help the Vikings start producing points on a regular basis.

So far in two games, the defense has accounted for 21 of Minnesota's 41 points.

Vikings players joked about this being a competition between the offense and defense after the victory over Atlanta, but this became a sore point between the units last year and could be an issue again if the offense doesn't start scoring.

Last season, the Vikings got off to a 2-0 start but won only four of their remaining 14 games. While no one will say it, the feeling in Minnesota after the Vikings' 10-game winning streak against the Lions came to an end is one of "here we go again."

However, center Matt Birk said it's way too early to panic about any issue, including Jackson's performance in Detroit.

"Last week everyone was saying how great we were," Birk said. "This week, everyone's down on us. That's life in the NFL. You've got to keep it in perspective. It's a long season. We're only two games in. We've got a long ways to go.

"We've got a phrase that one of my old coaches used to use which I always liked: ‘We've got to keep chopping wood.' Just keep working hard and the biggest thing is keep trying to improve. I think that's what you see from teams in the playoffs and teams that win championships is they improve during the year."

SERIES HISTORY: 10th meeting. Kansas City leads series, 5-4. The Vikings will be making their first trip to Arrowhead Stadium since 1999 and only their fourth visit to Kansas City in franchise history.

NOTES

  • The most famous meeting between these franchises came in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans when the Chiefs upset the heavily favored Vikings, 23-7, on Jan. 11, 1970. That also was the first-ever meeting between the franchises. Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson was named MVP of the game, completing 12 of 17 passes for 122 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Vikings were limited to 67 yards rushing and the Chiefs had three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

  • The Vikings cruised to a 45-20 victory over the Chiefs in the last meeting between the teams on Dec. 20, 2003 at the Metrodome. RB Onterrio Smith set a Vikings rookie record by rushing for three touchdowns and had 146 yards on the ground. The 45 points were a season high for the Vikings.

  • C Matt Birk and TE Jim Kleinsasser are the only remaining Vikings from the team's last regular-season trip to Kansas City on Dec. 12, 1999. The Vikings lost the game, 31-28, but finished with a 10-6 record and advanced to the postseason.

  • That game was one of Randy Moss' more interesting contests in his seven seasons as a Viking. In that loss, he dropped two passes, committed two key fumbles but also scored two touchdowns. His 64-yard punt return with 1:38 remaining tied the score at 28. "It takes a special player with a lot of heart to do what I did on that punt return," Moss said.

  • Kansas City lost its first two regular-season games against the Vikings, including the season opener in 1970 after their Super Bowl meeting. The Chiefs' first regular-season victory over the Vikings came Dec. 20, 1981 in the final game ever played at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn. Kansas City won 10-6. The Vikings moved into the Metrodome the following year.

  • Fullback Tony Richardson, who sat out the Vikings' loss at Detroit in Week 2 because of a forearm injury, is returning to Arrowhead Stadium for a game for the first time since signing with the Vikings as a free agent in 2006. Richardson was a member of the Chiefs from 1995 to 2005.

  • Napoleon Harris, the Chiefs' starting middle linebacker, served in the same role last season for the Vikings. He signed with Kansas City as a free agent during the offseason. Chiefs running back Michael Bennett and No. 3 quarterback Tyler Thigpen also are former Vikings.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 44 — Number of consecutive games Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson had gone without a penalty that had been accepted before Sunday. Hutchinson, who was called for a false start in overtime against the Lions, last had been tagged with a penalty that was accepted on Nov. 14, 2004, when he was with Seattle.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Certainly, it's one of our points of emphasis every game, especially on the road, to keep penalties to a minimum, and we didn't do a good job of that. We also didn't do a good job of protecting the football. We did those things well in Week 1 and we won, and we didn't do them well (Sunday) and we lost." — Center Matt Birk, on the Vikings' overtime loss to Detroit; the game featured five turnovers and 12 penalties by the Vikings.


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