Sunday, May 29, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Phil Loadholt is already done for the season, John Sullivan won’t return to the field until at least the second half of the year, and before the release of today’s inactive list, fans worried left guard Brandon Fusco would miss the Vikings’ Week 3 matchup with the San Diego Chargers.

Fear not — Fusco has cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol, is active for today’s game, and will likely start. Seven other players, however, will not suit up against the Chargers. They include:

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

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.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

I play too much fantasy football, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m an expert when it comes to drafting, setting lineups, and scouring the waiver wire for fantasy sleepers. In all honesty, I love joining my friends’ leagues, even if I’ve yet to come away with the elusive championship prize in nearly ten years of play.

Case in point — my family owns a coffee shop, and I started an eight-man league with our baristas last year, thinking I’d waltz to a title against the less-experienced coffee makers. By the end of the season, I finished in fifth place, missed the playoffs, and watched my twin sister dominate to finish as the league champion. Fantasy football is a cruel, but rewarding endeavor given the unpredictable nature of the “sport,” and that’s what makes the Vikings Territory contest so exciting!

As Brett has told you before, we’re hosting a weekly contest through Draft Kings to bring Vikings fans together through easy-to-join DFS contests. For just $5, you can take part in the league and compete against a few of the VT writers, including myself, Brett, Adam, Brian, and Matt Engstrom! Setting your lineup takes no more than 10 minutes, and the top-3 teams walk away with cash prizes.

JOIN THE WEEK 3 VIKINGS TERRITORY FANTASY CONTEST!

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(photo courtesy of vikings.com)

The Vikings got back to .500 after defeating the Lions in their home opener, and the general morale of the coaching staff and team seems (understandably) much higher than it did following Week 1.

Both teams are 1-1, and while the Vikings will be playing their second consecutive home game, this will be the Chargers’ second road game in a row. The Vikings, who have a 5-6 record all-time against the Chargers, last played San Diego in Week 1 of the 2011 season, a 24-17 Charger win. Before then, the teams hadn’t met since 2007, in which Adrian Peterson set the NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards en route to a win.

Heading into Week 3, what does the offensive match up look like between Minnesota and San Diego?


Offensive Line

Although the offensive line has some weak spots due to injuries, previous-concern Matt Kalil has had a great start to his season.

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