It wasn’t the prettiest of football games, but the Minnesota Vikings got a crucial 16-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday to improve to 3-2 on the season.
The Chiefs were depleted without their top offensive player in Jamaal Charles and were exposed in the secondary, but the Vikings probably felt it should’ve been a more dominant victory on the scoreboard to match the performance on the field. Instead, it took a late Chiefs fumble to seal the victory.READ MORE: Hopkins Police Investigating Homicide At Apartment Building
Regardless, the Vikings aren’t going to apologize for winning when they weren’t playing their best football. In fact, it can be argued that good teams find a way win games when they aren’t at the top of their game.
The Kansas City game was the first of a five-game stretch for the Vikings that feature very beatable opponents. This week, they are in Detroit, which just got its first win of the season. That’s followed by a game at Chicago against the Bears, who have been nothing short of disappointing this season. The Vikings also host the St. Louis Rams and travel to Oakland to face the Raiders before a huge game Nov. 22 against the Packers at TCF Bank Stadium.
In a perfect world, the Vikings will be 7-2 heading into that rivalry game.
Here are four takeaways from Sunday’s victory:
Stefon Diggs Emerges As Weapon On Offense
It’s obvious, but the fifth-round draft choice has made the most of his two games of action this year with the Vikings. Stefon Diggs led Minnesota with seven catches for 129 yards Sunday, including a big play on a third-and-15 for a first down. The coaches are happy with how he runs routes, he makes big plays and Teddy Bridgewater is not afraid to go to the rookie in a big spot. With Charles Johnson injured, it’s a nice option to have Diggs for some depth at wide receiver. It also forces the coaching staff to make some decisions between Johnson, Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson when all are healthy and able to play.
Eric Kendricks Takes Over At LinebackerREAD MORE: Mass Casualty Simulation Helps Nat'l Guard, Children's Minnesota Practice Treating Kids
The Vikings made an interesting move over the bye week, trading linebacker Gerald Hodges to the 49ers for back-up center Nick Easton. Eric Kendricks has stepped up in a big way now that he has the starting middle linebacker job. He leads the Vikings defense with 29 tackles, including 26 solo tackles and two sacks. He brings an energy to the defense flying to the football that they didn’t have before. He had 10 tackles and a sack in Sunday’s win. He has answered the bell after being handed a huge position on the team’s defense.
Blair Walsh Getting Back To Form
Blair Wash signed a contract extension in the offseason, then went onto have one of the worst preseasons in the NFL for kickers. After struggling early in the season, Walsh appears to have gotten his form back in the last two weeks. He made field goals of 33 and 38 yards as well as two extra points in the loss to Denver. He also missed an early field goal in that game, and the Vikings lost by three points. Walsh was perfect in Sunday’s win, and they needed every point. He made field goals from 24 and twice from 45 yards as well as an extra point. The Vikings will need him to be consistent the rest of the year to stay in the playoff hunt, and they’ll probably need him to make a game-winning kick at some point. Getting his confidence up now is a big step in that direction.
Kyle Rudolph Makes The Most Of His Chance
After having offseason surgery and signing a new contract, Kyle Rudolph was poised for a big season. For the most part, it hasn’t really happened yet as the Vikings have used him more for run blocking than anything. Mike Zimmer told him to keep his head up, because you never know when your number will be called. Rudolph caught the Vikings’ only touchdown Sunday on a 4-yard pass. He had only two catches for nine yards on the day, but was a key figure in the game’s outcome. Rudolph is actually second on the team with 16 catches for 113 yards and two scores on the season, and he’ll need to be ready every week to make a play when his name is called.MORE NEWS: Amid Missionary Hostage Crisis, Minnesotan From Port-Au-Prince Wishes 'Haiti Would Get The Help They Need'
The Vikings have a stretch of four more very winnable games before hosting rival Green Bay. It will take a team effort every week to get to 7-2. Game plans change with every opponent, so you never really know who will step up and have a chance on a weekly basis.