Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Vikings Study Chiefs Tricks, Prepare for Their Track Speed

EAGAN, Minn. — Forget trick-or-treating.

The Vikings are focusing on tricks and track speed of the Chiefs this week ahead of Sunday's game in Kansas City.

Head Coach Mike Zimmer brought up the latter rather fast during his Wednesday morning media session.

"They're fast, really fast. … They do a lot of unorthodox things offensively because they're trying to get big plays downfield," Zimmer said. "I think they're number one in the league in RPOs, RPO percentages. … They're number one in the league with yards after catch. I'm trying to think, the next-closest team is 250 yards away from them or something."

"The Chiefs lead the NFL with 1,334 yards after catch, while the Rams come in second with 1,167. For reference, the Vikings are 11th in the league with 991 YAC.

"So yeah, we're going to have to be on our toes, and we're going to have to play good against them and try to eliminate some big plays," Zimmer added.

Rookie Mecole Hardman was clocked at 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which tied for third among receivers at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. That time was tied for fifth among all participants this year and is tied with the likes of Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett for 13th at any combine since 2006.

Then there's Sammy Watkins, a 2014 first-round pick who was added to the mix last season. Watkins clocked a time of 4.43 seconds at the 2014 combine, which tied for seventh among receivers that year.

And, oh yeah, "Cheetah" Tyreek Hill is another multipurpose weapon for Kansas City. Hill wasn't a combine participant, but he was timed running the 200 meters in 20:14 seconds at Coffee High School in Douglas, Georgia. Hill became the first player in NFL history with a play of at least 60 yards in five consecutive games.

Watkins' time is the same that Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes posted in 2013 (11th among cornerbacks that year). Trae Waynes was timed at 4.31 seconds, the fastest among cornerbacks in 2015, in the event before Minnesota selected him in the first round.

Vikings defenders have seen plenty of film that showcases Kansas City's playing speed on the outside.

"They have great players, great receivers, great running backs, great team," Rhodes said. "They put up points, they're explosive on the offensive side of the ball. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone — not to you [the media], not to us, not to the NFL. Looking forward to it being a hard game. It's one of the toughest stadiums to play in, so it should be a good battle. We know what we're facing."

View Vikings practice images from October 30 as the team prepares for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Asked if the Chiefs are the fastest team that the Vikings have seen on film, Anthony Harris laughed.

"They have a lot of speed, for sure," Harris said.

He and others know that Kansas City effectively uses deception — pre-snap motions and fake handoffs on end arounds and sweeps — to cause hesitation by defenders and accentuate their own players' speed.

"Trickery is kind of a tricky thing (laughs)," Harris said. "Guys have to be sound with their technique, their eyes, to help deter some of those things and not be susceptible to trick plays. Being disciplined and executing is part of it.

"The other factor you have to throw in is speed. It makes it tougher," Harris said. "You have to keep your eyes on your guys and play with the right technique, but the faster the players are, the more likely they are, if you're behind them a little bit, to sneak past you. We'll have a challenge ahead, but guys are excited."