Close Wins of 2022 become Close Losses in 2023—Chargers Beat the Vikings

Vikings Territory Breakdown Podcast

There is always a new way to win a football game—or if you happen to be affiliated with the Minnesota Vikings (a player, coach or fan), a new way to lose one. The Vikings are now 0-2 at home and 0-3 on the season and two games behind in the NFC North Division after a 28-24 loss at home to the Los Angeles Chargers—but it didn’t have to be that way. When the opposing coach gives you the gift of the ball on a bad play call on fourth down near their own 20-yard-line and you let the clock run down rather than clock the ball and have to force a frenetic pass into the endzone that fails, something is amiss. 

The Vikings defense gave up 475 yards—405 of them to quarterback Justin Herbert and 215 on 18 catches (the most in Vikings history) to wide receiver Keenan Allen. The Vikings put up 475 of their own, but two failed red zone opportunities at the end of the game and another in the first half are the reason they ultimately lost this one. Some of it was execution; some was play-calling; and some was poor clock management when it counted most.

“My thought was not to waste a play on the clock—just wanted as many chances as we could get . . . ,” head coach Kevin O’Connell told KFAN radio after the game. “But I probably should have clocked the ball there.”

KOC will get no argument from Vikings fans. Nor from us at Vikings Territory Breakdown podcast (Joe Oberle from and and Mark Craig from the Star Tribune and There is plenty of talk about regarding this third consecutive loss to open the season. There were good moments—Justin Jefferson’s first touchdown of the year (a 52-yard pass reception from Kirk Cousins), a running game that actually showed up for the first time this season (98 yards on 4.7 per carry for Alexander Mattison)—but they were too few and far between to beat the Chargers. It’s likely we won’t focus too much time on those plays. Tune in and check it out.

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