Chargers Give Vikings a Get-Right Opportunity

Jan 14, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) runs after a catch during the first quarter of a wild card game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have started their season in less-than-ideal fashion. Dropping a game at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was unexpected, and being in position to build momentum and flopping against the Philadelphia Eagles hurts. Now, the Los Angeles Chargers provide an opportunity to right the ship.

Chargers Give Vikings a Get-Right Opportunity

While many Minnesota Vikings issues thus far have been self-inflicted, they have also faced capable offenses. Despite Baker Mayfield being on just a one-year deal with the Buccaneers, he came in looking like he had a firm grasp of the offense. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles are one of the most complete teams in the NFL, and giving away any chances wouldn’t bode well. The Chargers, though, are another beast entirely.

Give Vikings a Get
Nov 27, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) is tackled by Los Angeles Chargers safety Alohi Gilman (32), safety Derwin James Jr. (3), JT Woods (22) and cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. (26) at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Like the Vikings, the Chargers come into Sunday’s contest with an 0-2 record. Despite rostering a very talented quarterback in Justin Herbert, Los Angeles hasn’t been able to get things going as a whole and has dropped games to both the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans. Last weekend’s road loss came in overtime, and despite a halftime lead and a 10-point fourth quarter, they couldn’t get the job done.

Herbert has weapons on offense, mainly at the wide receiver position. Both Keenan Aleen and Mike Williams will test the Vikings corners, but that’s essentially where the skill position players end for the Chargers. With Austin Ekeler in question, Los Angeles may be relatively one-sided on offense.

Danielle Hunter Is Back — Sort Of
Dec 15, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) pressures Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during the first quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s on defense that the Vikings can find their greatest opportunity against the Chargers. The Minnesota Vikings possess one of the best passing offenses in the NFL across the first two weeks. Kirk Cousins has topped 700 yards passing, and Justin Jefferson leads the league with more than 300 yards receiving. Both T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison have seen success as well, and a porous defense appears ripe for the picking.

Jefferson has already gone off twice to open the season, but the Chargers defense allowed a whopping 215 yards to Tyreek Hill in Week 1. They then let Ryan Tannehill go 20-of-24 last weekend, and he completed passes to seven different wideouts. With such a strong passing game, the Vikings should be licking their chops.

Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) is stopped by Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Kyzir White (44) after a pass play for a first down in the first half against at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings have struggled to play a complete game early in the 2023 NFL season, and the less they have to worry about an ability to push the ball, the better off they’ll be. The Chargers can definitely fill up the scoreboard, but unless they have sweeping changes over the course of a week, then they’ll struggle to stop Minnesota.

The NFC North has started slow, which stands to benefit the Vikings, but only if they can right the ship and get in the win column sooner rather than later. The Chargers are bringing an opportunity to U.S. Bank Stadium. It would be in Minnesota’s best interests to capitalize upon it.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.