Vikings vs Chiefs: 5 Things We Learned from Minnesota's 22-17 Loss

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IOctober 2, 2011

Vikings vs Chiefs: 5 Things We Learned from Minnesota's 22-17 Loss

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    The Vikings dropped the ball yet again—this time against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4—so what did we really learn from this contest?

    Without giving away too much, some of the rising whispers in Minnesota have been for the possible sacking of quarterback Donovan McNabb in favor of the anticipated "quarterback of the future" Christian Ponder.

    Another comment that has passed in the wind over the weeks is whether this set of coordinators even knows what its are doing.

    Defensive coordinator Fred Pagac's inability to adjust to the opposition and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's inability to get the right players on the field and involved have been a growing concern in the minds of Vikings fans. These are concerns that haven't had much resolution through three games.

    And of course, the growing breeze that carries the question: Can Leslie Frazier cultivate the talent this team actually has, or is it going to continuously go south for the winter?

    Let's see what exactly we learned in Sunday's contest, and whether it relates to any of the aforementioned concerns.

A Fred Pagac Slide

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    Fred Pagac finally displayed some interesting moves on defense, especially in the second half.

    The Chiefs were hurting the Vikings on the crossing patterns and underneath throws, and the Vikings staff did a good job of shutting down those opportunities, forcing the Chiefs to go deep.

    Problem was, they did allow too many deep passes—ironically over the middle—to Dwayne Bowe.

    The level of inconsistency needs to be dealt with now before this season is over.

Musgrave Comes Through

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    Bill Musgrave showed he as a coach can in fact adjust to what his team is dealing with, as well as, his own issues.

    The major problem was second-half adjustments due to no third-down conversions and an apparent inability to get the right guys involved at the right time.

    Well, Musgrave delivered by affording Donovan McNabb more first down throws and including Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins in scoring situations, while moving the chains with Adrian Peterson and his tight ends "Shank" and Kyle Rudolph.

    The other mention here is we did see a little bit more work out of Percy Harvin, which is a promising notice.

The Defensive Line Gets Better Each Week

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    The D-line continues to show that they are progressively getting better and is one of the best front four in the league right now.

    The best part is the fact that the Vikings get pressure with just their front four, and enough that they can opt to play more coverage-based looks.

    And with a D-line that can also stuff the run and come up big in clutch situations, there is definitely something to build upon here.

Penalties Are Still an Issue

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    The Vikings are the second most penalized team in the league, and that is becoming yet another problem for the Vikings to deal with.

    I don't have to mention that penalties kill here; only that if they continue to be problematic, the Vikings will have an even harder time accomplishing even the smallest feats.

What If???

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    Steve Breaston was brought into Kansas City to be the "other" down-field threat, but to be honest, he has always been a utility receiver, good for drag and over-the-middle passes.

    But one thing I learned here was the notion that, if Kansas City had a true outside threat opposite of Dwayne Bowe, this team would be much more dangerous than it currently is.

    With a makeshift backfield and an under-performing TE in Leonard Pope, Breaston will have to do his best to become what he is seemingly not.

McNabb May Need to Be Benched

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    Donovan McNabb has the talent, but McNabb may be too far past his prime to ever be an effective quarterback again.

    There have been way too many instances now of McNabb forcing the issue, rather than making the smart play.

    There have been too many times where McNabb's eyes have shown the ravages of old age, and he may just be better suited holding a clipboard as a mentor, rather than wearing a helmet as a starter.

Final Thoughts

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    I like where the team is headed, but I do not like the slow pace that is getting them there.

    The Vikings have more talent on this team than many believe, but it has been execution and a few coaching mishaps that have dismantled their efforts to prove so.

    In addition to the aforementioned, I still believe that McNabb isn't quite ready and is still forcing the issue when he doesn't have to. Case in point: at the start of the fourth quarter when McNabb could've ran for the first easily, but instead tried to make a near impossible throw.

    The pieces are obviously there and the talent is certainly there, but until this team fixes the little idiosyncrasies, they will continue to squander each game that seemingly is always winnable.