KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Midway through the fourth quarter, Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen appealed to the throng of Vikings fans who invaded Arrowhead Stadium from the north, seeking motivation to finish off a victory against the Chiefs.
Unfortunately for Griffen, however, the cheers instead fired up a Kansas City defense fed up with playing second fiddle in their own stadium.
“Minnesota kind of pissed me off doing that in our stadium,” defensive end Chris Jones said. “I'm like, you're not going to come into Arrowhead and do that. We had to respond big.”
With 8:34 remaining in the game, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer called a timeout as the Chiefs faced third-and-11 from their own 40-yard line. Griffen extolled the purple faithful on hand to star the Skol chant.
“Skol” derives from a word in diferent Nordic languages translating to “cheers” or “good health.” The franchise has used “Skol, Vikings” as a fight song since joining the NFL in 1961. When the team moved into U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016, the Skol chant took on a life of its own.
At first it looked like the move paid off for the Vikings. A false start by left tackle Cam Erving sent the Chiefs back 5 yards, then quarterback Matt Moore took a sack for an 11-yard loss. Dustin Colquitt came out to punt on fourth-and-27 from the Chiefs 24-yard line.
Shortly after the Skol chant broke out, the Arrowhead Stadium speakers began blaring the music that accompanies the team's “tomahawk chop” chant. The moved pleased head coach Andy Reid.
“The whole thing clapping over the head and all that, I think our PA guy did a nice job of cranking up the Arrowhead pride there,” Reid said. “They were yanking the music out and nulled out that clapping deal. It brought us right back to home.”
After that, however, tides turned in Kansas City's favor. The Chiefs defense forced back-to-back three-and-out drives on the final two Minnesota possessions of the game, holding the Vikings to minus-7 yards of offense.
Message delivered, Jones said.
“you can't come into Arrowhead and do that damn stuff,” Jones said. “What is wrong with you?”
The offense took insult as well. Offensive lineman Andrew Wylie said the visiting cheers frustrated him and his teammates.
“We got the chop going, but those guys are flapping their wings or whatever,” Wylie said. “We saw that they had a lot of guys here. It just adds fuel to the fire.”
This marked the second week in a row a visiting fan based came into Arrowhead Stadium and negated to a degree Kansas City's vaunted home-field advantage. Last week thousands of Green Bay fans crowded into Arrowhead, spurring the Packers to a 31-24 victory.
This time, however, the Chiefs emerged on top. The Vikings took a 23-20 lead with 10:59 remaining in the game, but after the Vikings crowd woke up the Chiefs, Kansas City put together two late that finished with Harrison Butker field goals, including a 44-yard kick as time expired for the 26-23 victory.
“I saw too much purple,” running back Damien Williams said. “At the end of the day, they travel well, but I'm glad they traveled to see that.”
“I'm not hoping, I know the type of fans we got, so I know what time it is,” Williams said. “I know we're going to be out, red it out.”