(Quick update: The Vikings announced there are approximately 6,500 tickets remaining for their next home game, Oct. 9 against Arizona)
A year ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were the surprise team in the NFL. A group of talented young players came together at a time when the schedule was soft and -- voila! -- 10 wins and a division championship appeared.
This year, the perfect storm has shifting the other way. Charlie Weis left as offensive coordinator, injuries are piling up, the schedule got tougher and the two teams that once were perceived as weaker (Detroit and Buffalo) have gotten better and beaten the Chiefs by a combined score of 89-10.
So the Chiefs are 0-3 and playing host to the 0-3 Vikings on Sunday. The Vikings have blown halftime leads of 10, 17 and 20 points, so they're kind of at a loss to figure out their losses.
Yesterday, coach Leslie Frazier indicated that one of the potential solutions to the second-half implosions is to stay committed to running Adrian Peterson. After Peterson got only five carries for 5 yards in the 26-23 overtime loss to the Lions, Frazier said the team had to stay "mindful" of continuing to give Peterson the ball.
I know. It's hard to comprehend how the team would need to remind itself of its best player, a multiple All-Pro, a $100 million man and the face of the franchise. But I suppose these things happen when you only have the ball for 10 of the 32 minutes in the second half and overtime.
With their recommitment to Peterson affirmed heading into Week 4, the Vikings are facing a Chiefs team that:
- Ranks 28th against the run. It is allowing 123.0 yards rushing per game, while the NFL average is 104.1.
- Ranks 14th in rushing yards per carry allowed. They're allowing 3.7 yards per carry, while the NFL average is 4.0. That stat, however, is a little deceptive because the Lions only run the ball to slow down the pass rush. A run to the Lions is a throwaway play to set up the next pass.
- Lost strong safety Eric Berry (knee) for the season. That's a devastating blow.
- Gave up 163 yards rushing on 39 carries (4.2) in a 41-7 season-opening loss to the Bills. It was the team's worst season-opening loss in franchise history. Fred Jackson ran for 112 yards on 20 carries. He's the only 100-yard rusher against the Chiefs this year.
- Gave up 89 yards rushing on 30 carries (3.0) in a 48-3 loss to the Lions. The margin of victory tied a Lions franchise record. Jahvid Best had 57 yards and a TD on 16 carries. Again, the Lions don't even really try to run the ball.
- Gave up 117 yards rushing on 30 carries (3.9) in last week's 20-17 loss at San Diego. The Chargers didn't clinch the win until the Chiefs threw a last-minute interception at midfield. Ryan Mathews had 98 yards rushing on 21 carries.
- Has given up five rushing touchdowns in three games, and eight passing TDs.
Oh yeah, another stat to keep an eye on: The Chiefs have trailed at halftime by 13, 17 and 10 points.