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Vikings: 3 keys to victory against the Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Washington Redskins linebacker Montez Sweat (90) during the second half of an NFL football game. Photo: AP/Jim Mone
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Washington Redskins linebacker Montez Sweat (90) during the second half of an NFL football game.

Updated: November 02, 2019 06:55 PM

The 6-2 Vikings begin the second half of their schedule at noon Sunday against the 5-3 AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the loudest venues in the NFL. Oddly, the Chiefs have a three-game home losing streak — the Colts, Texans and Packers have won in Kansas City in recent weeks.

Below, the KSTP Sports team looks at three keys for the Vikings as they look to maintain pace in a very competitive NFC.

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Will Dalvin Cook have another very productive afternoon?

The Chiefs rank 30th against the run in the NFL, and two of their best defenders, Chris Jones and Frank Clark, are questionable. Both missed KC's game against Green Bay last week, a night that saw Packers running back Aaron Jones average 5 yards per carry with 159 receiving yards.

Cook's 823 rushing yards leads the NFL, and he's averaging 5.3 yards per carry. In many ways, he's an under-the-radar MVP candidate. It's also worth mentioning that center Garrett Bradbury has played markedly better since the first few weeks of the season. Simply put, run blocking has become a strength of the Vikings' offensive line.

The Chiefs also rank 25th in scoring defense.

Will the Vikings handle the Arrowhead noise well?

The Vikings are tied for committing the seventh-most penalties in the NFL at 61. Knowing how loud Arrowhead Stadium will be, it'll be interesting to see how well the Vikings communicate pre-snap.

The Vikings will not only need to handle the noise, but also big expectations. The Vikings are a three-point favorite, but they lost on the grass in Green Bay and Chicago and now face another on-the-grass game.

On top of that, the Vikings still don't know who will start at quarterback for the Chiefs or whether their opponent will be getting some other key pieces back, such as Clark, Jones and cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller.

Regardless of whether it's Patrick Mahomes or Matt Moore, can the Vikings defensive backs handle the Chiefs' speed?

Assuming Moore starts, he was just 5-of-12 when passing 8 yards or deeper downfield in last week's loss vs. Green Bay. Moore has plenty of weapons in Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman. Head coach/offensive guru Andy Reid does a great job designing routes to get them open.

The Vikings' defensive backs will have to stick tight in coverage, especially when thinking about how fast Hill is. He's a game changer, and the Vikings need to ensure that he doesn't change the game in Kansas City's favor on Sunday.

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