What the Vikings should take away from another Chiefs Super Bowl victory

Outside of inventing a time machine to go back and draft Patrick Mahomes, here's what the Vikings should learn from the Chiefs' win.

The Chiefs won their second straight Super Bowl — and their third in five years — on Sunday night, defeating the 49ers 25-22 on a walkoff overtime touchdown in Las Vegas. In securing his third ring and his third Super Bowl MVP at the age of 28, Patrick Mahomes has arguably entered into GOAT conversations already.

The Vikings can't invent a time machine that would allow them to go back and draft Mahomes in 2017 (a year in which they didn't have a first-round pick), but they should take a few things away from watching Kansas City reign supreme once again.

The Chiefs are officially a dynasty.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

You have to swing for upside at quarterback

The NFL belongs to Mahomes right now. The path to championships goes through him. Even in an AFC featuring guys like Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson, Mahomes has gone to four of the last five Super Bowls. The only QBs to ever beat him in the playoffs are Burrow and Tom Brady.

In order to even have a chance to compete for a title, your quarterback almost certainly has to meet at least one of two criteria. The most important and obvious one is to be extremely good. The other is to be on a rookie contract with a stacked roster, like Brock Purdy with the 49ers.

Of the last 24 Super Bowl participants, nine had either Brady, Mahomes, or Peyton Manning on big contracts. 12 had a QB on a rookie deal. That leaves just 2016 Matt Ryan (who won NFL MVP), 2019 Jimmy Garoppolo, and 2021 Matthew Stafford (hat tip to Phil Mackey for this nugget). Jared Goff and the Lions fell just short of adding to that list, but it's a tough path to follow that requires impeccable roster building. 

The biggest takeaway for the Vikings should be that now is the time to let Kirk Cousins head elsewhere if he's going to command $45 million per year. As good as Cousins was this year before getting hurt, this league is about chasing superstar quarterbacks. So even if the Vikings can't get Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in April, they should try to get Jayden Daniels or J.J. McCarthy. Not only does that give you a starting QB on a rookie deal, it gives you a chance at finding a star at the most important position in sports.

An elite DT can be just as valuable as an EDGE

The second-best player on the Chiefs' roster isn't Travis Kelce anymore. It's Chris Jones, the star defensive tackle who has earned All-Pro and/or Pro Bowl honors in each of the last six seasons. Jones didn't have a sack in Sunday's game, but he had six pressures and altered several Purdy throws that could've changed the outcome.

Elite pass-rushing DTs are game-wreckers. Jones has been a huge part of the Chiefs' three championships. Aaron Donald had a case for Super Bowl MVP a couple years ago. The 2020 Buccaneers had Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh. Elite edge rushers are incredibly valuable, but interior pass rush can be just as important.

Whether it's Danielle Hunter or someone else, the Vikings need a dominant force in their front seven. They also need to find a defensive tackle or two who can rush the quarterback.

Good cornerback play is a huge advantage

Two of the best players on the field for the Chiefs on Sunday were Trent McDuffie and L'Jarius Sneed, who make up perhaps the best cornerback duo in football. They were all over 49ers receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, holding those two to six catches on 17 targets. McDuffie, who the Vikings could've drafted in 2022, had three key pass breakups, including one in the end zone.

This Chiefs defense is loaded with talented homegrown players. As they look to build up their defense, the Vikings need to hit on draft picks at a higher rate — and they need better cornerbacks.

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