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Chiefs don’t beat Vikings without wide receiver Tyreek Hill

Hill was as important as anyone in Sunday’s 26-23 Chiefs win over the Minnesota Vikings.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The most popular Tyreek Hill highlight from his game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday shows him catching up to running back Damien Williams on Williams’ 91-yard touchdown run. According to the NFL’s NextGen Stats, Hill reached 22.64 miles per hour, the fastest speed he has ever reached during a play from scrimmage in his career.

Williams only saw Hill was close behind by way of ArrowVision.

“I was actually looking at the big screen the whole time,” said Williams. “I’m looking and I thought that he was coming on my other side, so when he came to the right side, I almost dropped the ball and all.”

Williams laughed. But Hill’s block of Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander was key in the finish to the play.

“It was good,” added Williams. “I know that he made a great block, I could see it on the screen. Like I said, all I did was run, everybody else did the hard work.”

The touchdown run gave the Chiefs a 17-16 lead in the third quarter, but that wasn’t the end of Hill’s impact on the game.

The Chiefs defense stopped the Vikings with the game tied at 23 and under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Hill came onto the field to receive Britton Colquitt’s punt.

“That was (special team coordinator) Dave’s (Toub) plan,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said after the game. “You hope that he gets an opportunity to catch it and return it. If he doesn’t then the results were good results.”

Knowing what Hill can do as a returner (11.9 yards per return and four career punt-return touchdowns), Colquitt knew he could not give Hill the opportunity to wreck the game.

“It’s a windy day out there in a loud Arrowhead, and then they put Tyreek back there,” Colquitt said. “You know if he touches the ball then something really dangerous could happen. So you do anything you can so that he cannot touch the ball.”

Earlier in the quarter, Colquitt successfully kicked it away from Hill. But on the second punt, he shanked the ball, accumulating only 27 yards and giving the Chiefs’ starting field position on the Minnesota 45.

Five plays later, kicker Harrison Butker connected on the 44-yard game-winner.

“I definitely feel like I let our team down and put us in a bad position, field position wise at that time of the game,” Colquitt said. “It’s one of those things where that guy gets it in his hands, he’s one of the most dangerous people in the NFL.”

And those were two plays in which Hill had no box score production.

As the game played out, Hill led the Chiefs in receiving with six catches for 140 yards and a 40-yard touchdown that set the tone for the game in the first quarter.

“I saw him and he did a great job winning,” said quarterback Matt Moore. “Its nice when you see the DB’s back turned to you, and he is going, and I just tried to put it out there as best I could. I didn’t see the catch live, I ended up seeing it later, but he extended for it which was great, and he got there which was a great play by him.”

Hill tracked down the ball, extended his hands to catch it before diving into the end zone to give the Chiefs a 7-0 lead.

“It was just a sail route,” said Hill. “I did a good job of selling it. We had practiced that the whole week. Coach Reid and my receiver coach (Greg Lewis) were telling me to sell it, because [the Vikings] like to run a lot of Cover 2. That particular play, I believe, was Cover 1, but I sold it and Matt threw a perfect dime. The offensive line protected and did their thing and I was able to catch it.”

Hill added a wide-open 30-yard catch in the third quarter, then fought off Trae Waynes for a 41-yarder in the fourth. Hill’s 13-yard catch on third-and-3 late in the game set up Butker’s 44-yard game-winner.

“That was his route,” said Moore. “He quickened it up a little bit which was great and what we needed, but no, he executed perfectly there.”

After the catch, Hill fought for an extra nine yards. And as it would turn out, Vikings defensive lineman Danielle Hunter managed to get his fingertips on the final kick.

What that meant is Hill’s extra yards after the catch may have made all the difference.

“Every yard helps, especially on that 44-yarder,” Butker added after the game. “I don’t know if that would have been good from 46 yards.”

Without Moore’s performance, the Chiefs would not have beaten the Vikings on Sunday. But the same could be said for Hill — whether he was touching the football or not.

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