The San Diego Chargers arrived in Minnesota with one of the league’s most potent offenses, a triple-headed attack led by wide receiver Keenan Allen, rookie running back Melvin Gordon, and veteran quarterback Philip Rivers. Their success starts with Rivers’s intelligence at the line of scrimmage and ends with his unorthodox throwing motion — a combination shot put, Tim Tebow release that’s led to a miraculous 81.2 percent completion percentage through two games in 2015.
Those three, however, are just a small piece of this West Coast puzzle. Next to Allen, Steve Johnson has solidified himself as the Chargers’ number two receiver with his quick feet and penchant for winning in the slot. Malcolm Floyd, San Diego’s deep threat, is averaging 28 yards per catch in 2015. And behind Gordon, Branden Oliver is contributing on special teams, in the passing game, and on the ground.
Even without veteran tight end Antonio Gates (lost to a four-game suspension) and his backup, Ladarius Green (progressing through concussion protocol and questionable for today’s game), the Chargers are finding ways to win, whether on the ground or through the air. More than that, they’re finding ways to win in all shapes and sizes, no matter how big or how small.
Danny Woodhead, for example, stands just 5’9″ and weighs 200 pounds. Next to Chargers left tackle King Dunlap, he looks like a child. But Woodhead’s ability with the football has been vital to San Diego’s success in 2015, and he’s one of the most important players to watch against the Vikings this afternoon.
If Woodhead’s streak of six-plus targets a game continues, and he continues to make linebackers miss in space, the trio of Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, and Gerald Hodges could be in for a long game.