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Shouting match ensues

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Kansas City Chiefs had one of their worst performances of the season, and the frustration spilled over into
the locker room after their humiliating defeat to the Minnesota Vikings.

After the 45-20 loss on Saturday night, defensive lineman Ryan Sims and Eric Hicks got into a shouting match in the shower area of the locker room. Several players hurried to watch the commotion and
team officials ordered the crowd of reporters out into the hallway.

The doors were locked and several minutes passed before quarterback Trent Green emerged.

"There were guys in there having a disagreement, and I don't know what it was over," Green said. "Everybody's frustrated. We anticipated coming up here and playing better. ... Emotions get hot. We'll figure it out."

After getting off to a 9-0 start, Kansas City has lost three of its last six. And it's the second time in three weeks the Chiefs have allowed an opponent to score 45 points. They lost 45-27 at Denver on Dec. 7.

Their offense, which entered the game as the NFL's highest-scoring unit, fell flat in the first three quarters against an aggressive Minnesota defense -- delivering a huge blow to the Chiefs' hopes for home field advantage for the playoffs.

The Vikings practically had the game won midway through the third quarter, leading 31-0 after holding the Chiefs scoreless in the first half for the first time this season.

Priest Holmes, who had three rushing touchdowns, got the offense going in late in the third. But the hole was too deep -- overshadowing Holmes' match of Emmitt Smith's season rushing touchdowns record (25).

The Chiefs gave up 223 yards rushing -- 146 to rookie Onterrio Smith. They gave up 270 total and 218 to Clinton Portis in the loss to the Broncos.

"Anytime a running back goes for a big day, it definitely weighs on my heart deeply," linebacker Shawn Barber said.

Return man Dante Hall had no impact before leaving in the third quarter with leg cramps -- returning five kickoffs for 95 yards and a long of 21. Add in four turnovers and an early blown fumble call, and nothing went right for the Chiefs. They close out the season next week against Chicago.

"We had no chance," coach Dick Vermeil said.

After Minnesota drove 92 yards on the game's opening drive to take a 7-0 lead, the Chiefs had a chance to answer when Green hit Eddie Kennison for a 32-yard gain down the sideline. Vikings cornerback Brian Williams knocked the ball out of Kennison's hands and safety Brian Russell recovered at the 3.

Vermeil challenged that Kennison was out of bounds when the ball was knocked loose. Replays showed otherwise and Kansas City lost a timeout -- and the ball. Referee Ron Blum admitted a mistake after the game, since Williams came from out of bounds to touch the ball.

The Chiefs should have retained possession.

"If the officials see it, should still be our ball," Vermeil said. "But they didn't see it."

Kansas City closed the gap to 11 points in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings answered with two touchdowns. Afterward, the players downplayed the locker room outburst.

"When you have grown men and they have a number of things to say, it's going to come out sooner or later," Holmes said. "When there's a number of things not going your way, tempers rise and
definitely, that's what we saw today."

Green said he'd prefer his teammates care enough to shout.

"This is an emotional game and one where we have to play with a lot of passion," he said.