Grading The Game: Chiefs

The Vikings' tale of two halves is reflected in the grades from their 13-10 loss to Kansas City on Sunday.



PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus — Veteran Kelly Holcomb started a game for the first time since the 2005 season. The rust showed. Holcomb, replacing the injured Tarvaris Jackson (strained groin), completed 14 of 28 passes for 165 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. His timing wasn't there and he seemed to hold the ball too long on occasion. He ended up being sacked five times, although certainly not all were Holcomb's fault. Holcomb looked better in the early going as he passed for 103 yards in the first two quarters. One thing he did better than Jackson was throw the ball to the tight end. Visanthe Shiancoe, who had no catches a week ago against Detroit, had three receptions for 51 yards in Kansas City.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus — Veteran running back Chester Taylor missed his second consecutive game because of a hip injury. The Vikings' running game did just fine without him. Rookie Adrian Peterson had a 100-yard rushing performance for the second time in three games, gaining 102 yards on 25 carries. Peterson also caught three passes for 48 yards. He turned a 6-yard checkdown pass into a 35-yard gain late in the second quarter. Peterson's only slip-up was a fumble in his territory that led to a Chiefs field goal. At this point, this kid is the only real playmaker on the offensive side of the roster.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus — This grade was much higher in the first half of the game. A week after the Detroit Lions spread out the Vikings and passed for 393 yards, the Chiefs and Damon Huard mustered only 37 yards through the air on 10 attempts in the opening half. The Chiefs finally realized at halftime that trying to run the ball against the Vikings was largely a waste of time and Huard completed 14 of 19 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown in the second half. Cornerback Cedric Griffin struggled with his tackling at times and was victimized by rookie receiver Dwayne Bowe on what proved to be the winning touchdown.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus — This unit appears as if it very well could be the best in the NFL for a second consecutive season. The Chiefs were determined to get Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson on track and spent much of the first half trying to do so. The Vikings line, led by tackles Kevin and Pat Williams, had other ideas. Johnson finished with 42 yards on 24 carries (a 1.8 average) and the Chiefs averaged 1.6 yards on 31 carries, meaning they gained only 50 yards. The problem, just as it was last year, is that the Vikings rush defense is so good, eventually teams start going to the air. And that's when Minnesota has problems.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Other than Aundrae Allison's boneheaded decision to come out of the end zone with two kickoffs, this unit continues to be very solid. Ryan Longwell made his only field-goal attempt and boomed a couple of kickoffs, and punter Chris Kluwe had a career-long 70-yarder in the first quarter. Allison might have made a few bad moves, but the rookie has potential as a kick returner. Although Mewelde Moore was active for the second consecutive week, Bobby Wade continues to return punts. He averaged 9.0 yards on three returns. It wouldn't be surprising to see Moore return to this spot eventually.

COACHING: D — There were two ‘What were you thinking moments' that easily could make this grade an F. The first occurred late in the second quarter when the Vikings got the ball to the Kansas City 33-yard line with 1:15 left. After that, any semblance of clock management went out the window. The Vikings never even got into a two-minute offense, and by the time the clock ran out, Minnesota had been driven back to its own 49-yard line. While that sequence was curious, what happened late in the fourth quarter was bizarre. The Vikings had the ball at their own 20-yard line with 1:39 left and trailed by three points. Using a two-minute offense, Peterson never got on the field because Brad Childress isn't comfortable with him in pass protection. The theory was that the Vikings weren't going to run the ball much so they might as well use Moore. This would be fine except for one point: Peterson is the only guy on the offensive side of the ball who might be capable of breaking a big play. Pass protection should have been the least of the Vikings worries. Getting the ball in Peterson's hands should have been the No. 1 objective.


Viking Update Top Stories