By DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 22-17 Sunday afternoon, dropping their season record to 0-4.
The two squads were among the five winless teams left in the NFL before today's game, and both were desperate for a victory.
The Chiefs' Matt Cassel hit Dwayne Bowe for a 52-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass, Ryan Succop was perfect on five field-goal attempts and the Chiefs held on for the win.
Succop's accurate right leg had already staked Kansas City (1-3) to a 15-10 lead by the start of the fourth quarter when Cassel dropped back to pass. He saw Bowe get around Cedric Griffin, who had slipped just after the snap, and hit his Pro Bowl wide receiver in stride.
Bowe made a pirouette to get around safety Jamarca Sanford, then broke Griffen's tackle as the cornerback tried to recover, and trotted the last couple of yards for the touchdown.
The Vikings answered with a 13-play drive that Donovan McNabb capped with a short pass to Michael Jenkins for Minnesota's first second-half touchdown of the season. Its defense got the ball back with plenty of time left, but the Chiefs defense forced McNabb into throwing four consecutive incompletions to preserve the victory.
Succop's field goals included a career-long 54-yarder in the second half, and his total matched Jan Stenerud and Nick Lowery for the single-game franchise record.
The Chiefs have gotten better each week despite losing All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles, Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki to season-ending injuries.
The defending AFC West champs lost to Buffalo 41-7 in their opener and were trounced 48-3 at Detroit, before nearly rallying in a 20-17 loss to San Diego. The miserable start had some fans calling for coach Todd Haley and general manager Scott Pioli to be fired.
The heat is off for a week.
It's still on Vikings coach Leslie Frazier.
Minnesota squandered a big first-half leads in each of its first three games, but this time dug a 9-7 hole by the break. After taking the lead on Ryan Longwell's field goal in the third quarter, the Vikings wilted and the result is their first 0-4 start since 2002.
McNabb finished 18 of 30 for 202 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Adrian Peterson carried 23 times for 80 yards in another underwhelming performance.
Kansas City's defense set the tone early.
So maligned the first two games of the season, it held the Vikings to three-and-out on their opening possession. Javier Arenas gave the Chiefs decent field position with a 33-yard punt return, and Succop's 40-yard field goal provided their first lead all season.
The Vikings answered quickly with a nine-play, 80-yard drive.
Peterson carried the load, forcing the Chiefs to stack the line of scrimmage, and McNabb made them pay when found he Devin Aromashodu streaking down the sideline. Aromashodu laid out to make a diving catch in the end zone, and the touchdown was upheld after video review.
It was McNabb's 233rd touchdown pass, breaking a tie with Steve Young for 21st all time.
Minnesota looked like it would build on the 7-3 lead, marching deep into Chiefs territory early in the second quarter. But after a sack by Tamba Hali set up third-and-long, McNabb's pass was tipped by running back Toby Gerhart and intercepted by Brandon Carr.
The Chiefs immediately struck with a 42-yard completion to Steve Breaston, but the drive fizzled when Cassel didn't see Breaston open in the end zone and then inexplicably chucked the ball into the ground on third down.
Succop came on for a 24-yard field that made it 7-6, and Cassel got an ear full from Haley when he walked over to the sideline.
There still appeared to be tension on the Chiefs sideline until Succop hit his third field goal of the half, this one from 51 yards, to take a 9-7 halftime lead.
Any remaining tension likely dissipated when Cassel kneeled down to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, wrapping up a much-needed win.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)