EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Mike Zimmer loved a stop and what the Vikings did after he opted to go for it on fourth downs in Minnesota's 16-10 win Sunday against Kansas City.
Now, he wants the execution on each play to carry over in future games that come down to the wire.
"There were some great situations for our team to learn about that I think will be big factors as we continue on throughout the season," Zimmer said. "Hitting a 3rd-and-15, a 4th-and-1 conversion offensively, a 4th-and-1 stop defensively inside the 10-yard line, them throwing four incomplete passes in the two-minute drill when they had a chance to come back and win the game."
Sharrif Floyd surged through the line of scrimmage to tackle Charcandrick West for a short loss on fourth-and-1 with 4:30 left in the third quarter to preserve a 13-0 lead.
The Vikings offense, meanwhile, converted a fourth-and-1 from the Kansas City 42 during a drive that ended with a touchdown in the second quarter.
After Kansas City rallied with 10 unanswered points, Minnesota was backed up near its own end zone and faced third-and-15, but Teddy Bridgewater navigated the pocket to give Stefon Diggs an opportunity to find a window in the defense for a 30-yard gain. That drive ended with a field goal by Blair Walsh.
The Vikings were able to force a fumble and recover it on the Chiefs next possession and then forced four consecutive incompletions with coverage by Eric Kendricks on Travis Kelce, Captain Munnerlyn on Jason Avant and Xavier Rhodes on Albert Wilson on third and fourth down throws.
"That 4th-and-1 inside the 10 was a huge play and that 3rd-and-15 was a huge play," Zimmer said. "Captain [Munnerlyn] made a couple really good plays at the end of the ballgame there in the two-minute drill. Those are all good deals."
The Vikings will try to carryover that success for two straight divisional road games, starting with a visit to Detroit Sunday, followed by Chicago.
Run it again:The Vikings were contained often on run plays, with Adrian Peterson frequently being met in the backfield, but stayed committed to pounding the ball. Minnesota finished with 35 attempts for 84 yards (2.4 per carry), with Adrian Peterson being limited to 60 yards on 26 attempts, which included a 23-yard gain on a drive that ended with a field goal.
Zimmer said the Chiefs were implementing run blitzes sometimes, and also credited Kansas City for a "physical, stout front" and an emphasis it placed on lining up against the run.
"They defeated us sometimes and then sometimes I think in some of the runs – and they tightened their linebackers up a little tighter than they normally play," Zimmer said. "I think some of the times we tried to help other guys a little bit too much instead of, 'Hey, that's my guy, I've got to block him, but I'm going to make sure that I nudge this guy, or hang on this guy and not get up to where my guy is.' Those are all things that I think they're all correctable."
Zimmer said he "personally" wants to make sure the Vikings continue to run the football good in spite of other teams overcommitting to stopping the run.
"The more they take chances to stop the run, the more it's going to benefit us," Zimmer said, "because what you're going to see is eventually you're going to see the 23-yard run by Adrian or the couple long runs that he had the two weeks before because people are gambling to stop the run."
On targets: Mike Wallace was asked about a stat line that included two catches for 23 yards on nine targets and pointed out that "sometimes targets aren't really targets."
"It can be throwaways and you're in that area, so you get the target," Wallace said. "I didn't have that many targets yesterday. It just seemed like it. As long as we get the win, I don't care."
Film review showed that the first pass thrown toward Wallace was off the mark, the second was batted down at the line of scrimmage, the third was a gain of 10, the fourth a throwaway out of the back of the end zone, the fifth a gain of 13, the sixth and ninth were broken up by Marcus Peters, who also intercepted the eighth. The seventh, however, was one that Wallace was upset with himself for not catching.
"There will be games where I do well and games where I don't do so well," said Wallace, who led the Vikings with eight catches and a touchdown in Denver in Week 4. "We have a lot of weapons on our team, one of the deepest offenses in the league. We have six guys that I truly believe can make any team in the league."