The Vikings are headed to Kansas City looking for their fifth consecutive win.
Minnesota is 6-2 following a perfect second quarter of the 2019 season. The Vikings are coming off a Week 8 win on Thursday Night Football over Washington, meaning the team has had extra rest for this one.
Kansas City sits at 5-3. The Chiefs were without starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes in a Week 8 home loss to Green Bay. It remains to been seen if Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, will play Sunday. Kansas City has lost three of four.
Kickoff is Sunday at noon (CT) from Arrowhead Stadium.
And while there has been plenty of coverage on the Purple this week, Vikings.com chatted with Chiefs reporter Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride for a glance at what the other side is thinking before Sunday's contest.
Here is the Week 9 edition of Opposing Viewpoint:
We'll start with the topic on everyone's mind … Will Patrick Mahomes play against the Vikings? And if he does, will he be limited at all? If he doesn't, what has Matt Moore shown you on the field over the past two weeks?
PS: As of this writing (Thursday evening), I think there is a less-than-10 percent chance Patrick Mahomes plays this weekend against the Vikings. My expectation is that he is either ruled OUT or DOUBTFUL when the official designations are released on Friday afternoon.
Over the past two weeks, the part of Matt Moore that has given Chiefs fans comfort is an ability to handle head coach Andy Reid's game plan. In each of the two games (a little more than half vs. Denver and full vs. Green Bay), Moore has scored at least a touchdown.
In Week 8, Reid implemented a game plan that pushed Moore to get rid of the ball in less than three seconds (per NFL Next Gen Stats), and into the hands of playmakers like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and rookie Mecole Hardman. That recipe allowed the Chiefs to be in a game with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers into the fourth quarter despite being heavily injured.
The Chiefs ultimately came up short against the Packers, but Moore showed that even after a year away from football, he can still manage a game plan.
Sunday's game will feature a coaching matchup between two elite minds on opposite sides of the ball. With both head coaches calling plays — Mike Zimmer for the Vikings defense and Andy Reid for the Chiefs offense — do you see those two playing a chess match at all this week?
PS: I do. Andy Reid still fascinates me with some of his play-calls. He was on the forefront of the run-pass option (RPO) revolution and his success with screens is unmatched.
Arrowhead Pride asked Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka about Reid's screen usage this week.
"He has a great feel for when to call them," said Kafka, "when the pass rush is ideal. I think the timing aspect of it is big. I also think if you set up some things early on in the game, you get to see some looks, and so I think that plays off of it as well — the protection part."
How Mike Zimmer combats all that Reid can come up with will be fun for any football fan to watch.
Note: Kafka spent the 2015 offseason with the Vikings as a backup quarterback.
The Vikings employ a pair of impressive pass rushers in Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen. With Kansas City's offensive line a bit banged up, how does the Chiefs offense plan on keeping those two at bay?
PS: With 26 combined quarterback hits, Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen are forces to be reckoned with. Arrowhead Pride asked Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy about whether the Chiefs would need help managing the dynamic duo this week.
"I think they make everybody feel [like you need extra help]," laughed Bieniemy. "Knowing Everson for a number of years when I was with the Minnesota Vikings — we drafted him — he's a hell of a player, and he does a great job of just playing with energy and effort. And watching this young kid, Danielle Hunter, I remember him coming out of high school, out of the Houston area, and watching him develop over the years throughout his college career and watching him become the pro that he has become. I will say this — those guys get after it. This is the NFL, you know? We don't have time to worry about what they do. The only thing that we can control is what we do and how we're going to execute our game plan versus those guys."
I could see the Chiefs emphasizing running back chips, and they are one of the few teams in the league who still rosters a fullback in Anthony Sherman. Look for the occasional extra O-lineman and two-tight end sets featuring Travis Kelce and second-string Blake Bell.
Reid also likes to feature misdirection in the backfield to get the entire defense off balance.
Note: Bell was with the Vikings in 2017, playing in 13 games and making three starts.
The Chiefs were without a handful of defensive starters Sunday against Green Bay. How does that unit stack up against a balanced Vikings offense that has racked up a whopping 1,874 total yards during a four-game win streak?
PS: We won't know for sure until Friday, but I expect the Chiefs to be without starting defensive ends Frank Clark and Alex Okafor in this game. But I also think nickel cornerback Kendall Fuller and defensive tackle Chris Jones will be back in the lineup.
Defending an offense that is playing as well as the Vikings will be no easy task, but having Jones, who finished third in the league in sacks last year with 15.5, will certainly help matters. Fuller's return to the lineup would mean safety Tyrann Mathieu might spend less time in the slot and more time guarding the Vikings talented receivers from beating the Chiefs over the top.
Which Vikings player on each side of the ball are you most looking forward to watching Sunday?
PS: On offense, the answer is easy — it's Dalvin Cook, who I consider in the same class as Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. With Mahomes likely out, Cook looks to be the most talented player on the field, and it isn't exactly close.
On defense, I'm eager to watch Hunter. Pass rushers are so critical to success in the NFL, and from what I have heard about Hunter, he probably does not get enough credit among the elite.