Vikings vs. Chiefs: Kansas City's 8 Keys to Victory

Bill Robbins@bill_kc28Correspondent ISeptember 29, 2011

Vikings vs. Chiefs: Kansas City's 8 Keys to Victory

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    Coach Todd Haley and his 0-3 Kansas City Chiefs will look to stop the bleeding this week against the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings at Arrowhead Stadium.

    For the Chiefs, it will be their first home game since getting demolished by the Bills in Week 1 by a score of 41-10.

    They are also looking to win theit first game since Week 16 of last season.

    Although the Vikings are winless through the first three games as well, they appear much better than their record currently shows.

    With Adrian Peterson in the backfield and Donovan McNabb at QB, you can never count this team out.

    Here are eight keys to winning this game for the Chiefs.

Get off to a Strong Start

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    Through this young season, the Chiefs have yet to get off to a good start.

    This must change if KC expects to win any of its remaining 13 games on the regular season schedule.

    If KC can set the tone early against the Vikings this Sunday, it will really put Minnesota in a tough spot.

    The boys from the NFC North would not only have to make a comeback, they would have to deal with a hostile Arrowhead Stadium crowd as well.

Slown Down RB Adrian Peterson

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    Minnesota starting RB Adrian Peterson has been one of the best backs in the league since he busted onto the scene in 2007.

    The former University of Oklahoma star has been to the Pro Bowl in each of his four seasons with the Vikings and has also rushed for more than 1,000 yards in all four years.

    With the KC defense already giving up an average of 113 rushing yards a game, Peterson will present another challenge for it this weekend.

    The Chiefs know it is highly unlikely that they will be able to completely shut Peterson down on Sunday, but if they can slow him down they will have a much better chance to win this game.

Get Pressure on QB Donovan McNabb

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    Vikings veteran QB Donovan McNabb has proven he has the ability to make plays on the field in a variety of different ways.

    However, once a  a defense starts to pressure him, he will struggle just like many others in the league.

    At 35 years old, McNabb does not have the same mobility he did in years past.

    The Chiefs need Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali and the others on their young, defensive front seven to apply pressure on McNabb, much like the Lions did last Sunday when they sacked him four times.

Limit DE Jared Allen

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    Jared Allen is one of the best defense ends in the entire NFL.

    The Chiefs should know all about him, considering he played his first four seasons in KC before being traded to the Vikings before the '08 season.

    He's had 10-plus sacks in five of his seven seasons in the league, and already has 4.5 this year.

    KC's offensive line has already had its share of struggle so far this season, but it can't afford to let Allen put Matt Cassel on his back all game on Sunday.

Feed the Ball to RB/WR Dexter McCluster

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    With Pro Bowl RB Jamaal Charles out for the year with an ACL injury, second-year man Dexter McCluster is one of the few offensive playmakers that the Chiefs currently possess.

    Although he is not quite as fast as Charles, he is still very explosive with the ball in his hands in the open field.

    Last week against the Chargers, he rolled up 62 total yards from scrimmage, including 45 rushing yards on just nine carries.

    The more the Chiefs decide to give the ball to McCluster, the better chance they have at beating the Vikings on Sunday.

Try to Avoid Giving Up Big Plays to the Vikings Offense

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    Kansas City's defense has had a knack for giving up big plays in the early part of this season.

    Both Buffalo and Detroit burned the Chiefs for multiple long passes in their two losses to begin the year.

    The Minnesota offense has two big-play threats in All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson and third-year wideout Percy Harvin.

    It will be up to the young Chiefs defense to help prevent the Vikings from burning them with long gains as well this weekend.

Protect QB Matt Cassel

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    Last season the Chiefs did a great job of providing solid protection for QB Matt Cassel. He was only sacked 26 times, which made life much easier for KC's passing offense.

    Through three games this year, he has only been sacked a total of five times.

    The Chiefs offensive line will need to continue to give Cassel adequate protection this week against a physical Vikings defensive front.

Take Advantage of the Home Field

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    Everyone knows that Arrowhead Stadium is always one of the toughest places to play a road game in the NFL.

    Last season, the Chiefs proved this once again by going 7-1 in their own backyard.

    This year, they have already equaled 2010's loss total in just one game.

    There is no doubt that Arrowhead will be rocking on Sunday afternoon, and KC needs to take full advantage of this.