Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Who else? In his first game in the town where his dad used to play for the Twins, Mahomes was 31-of-41 for 281 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Vikings did manage to pressure him and sack him twice, but he was lethal on third down (more on that later), and controlled the game on two third-quarter drives that put the Vikings in a hole they could not get out of.
Chiefs' third-and 18 conversion early in the third quarter
The Chiefs didn't convert every third down, but it might have seemed as if they did. None were bigger than Mahomes' 33-yard completion to Justin Watson on third-and-18 from his own 17 on the third play of the second half with the game tied 13-13. Mahomes, who had been sacked by Marcus Davenport on the first play of the half, had Harrison Smith and Danielle Hunter in his face and threw off his back foot to Watson, who grabbed it just outside the reach of Vikings safety Camryn Bynum. The Chiefs scored a touchdown on the drive and never trailed again. The Chiefs finished 9-of-15 (60%) on third down while the Vikings were 6-of-14 (43%).
After fumbling on the first offensive play Sunday, the Vikings have now lost eight fumbles in five games. They have 12 total turnovers, seven of which have come in the first quarter, preventing the offense from getting into rhythm and creating early deficits on the scoreboard. Greg Joseph's field goal Sunday accounted for the Vikings' only points this season in the first quarter, where they have been outscored 27-3.
at Chicago, Oct. 15, Noon (Fox)
The 1-4 Vikings play their first NFC North game of the season in Week 6, heading to Soldier Field to face 1-4 Chicago. The Bears looked hapless until they ended a 14-game losing streak Thursday night with a 40-20 win over the Commanders. It was a breakthrough game for receiver D.J. Moore, acquired from Carolina for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He and QB Justin Fields connected for eight catches, 230 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings must win both games against the Bears to have any hope of staying in the NFC North race.
2023 schedule and results
Sept. 10: L, 20-17 vs. Tampa Bay
Sept. 14: L, 34-28 at Philadelphia
Sept. 24: L, 28-24 vs. L.A. Chargers
Oct. 1: W, 21-13 at Carolina
Oct. 8: L, 27-20 vs. Kansas City
Oct. 15: at Chicago
Oct. 23: vs. San Francisco
Oct. 29: at Green Bay
Nov. 5: at Atlanta
Nov. 12: vs. New Orleans
Nov. 19 at Denver
Nov. 27 vs. Chicago
Dec. 10: at Las Vegas
TBA: at Cincinnati
Dec. 24: vs. Detroit
Dec. 31: vs. Green Bay
TBA: at Detroit