Vikings Will Have One Particular Advantage over Chargers

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.

The Minnesota Vikings created a gaffe-filled three hours on Thursday Night Football in Week 2, handing the Philadelphia Eagles four turnovers and ultimately losing 34-28.

Vikings Will Have One Particular Advantage over Chargers

The team sunk to 0-2 on the season, a disappointing start after a 13-4 record one year ago. Now, with the season essentially on the line, Minnesota travels home for a date with the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. And while the game is a toss-up — the points spread is even, per oddsmakers — the Vikings have one advantage in Week 3.


Will Have One Particular
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) runs for a touchdown after a catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Thursday Night Football isn’t ideal for players inbound, but the outbound is favorable — by the time Vikings-Chargers kicks off, Minnesota will have enjoyed 10 rest days. That’s the perk of TNF, a mini bye week.

The Chargers played Sunday afternoon, a loss to the Tennessee Titans, and will have three fewer days to prepare for Week 3 than Minnesota. Of course, this happens all the time and isn’t a supreme, almighty advantage, but it is noteworthy, especially because both teams desperately need a win.

Sep 17, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports.

Sportsbooks tabbed Los Angeles before the start of the season to win 9.5 games in 2023, a win total likely congruent with a playoff appearance. But losses out of the gate to the Miami Dolphins and the aforementioned Titans sent Brandon Staley’s team backpedaling. Now, merely to keep pace in the AFC’s blossoming playoff scene, the Chargers need a win.

And so do the Vikings.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Rachaad White (1) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) and defensive end Dean Lowry (94) and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) as guard Luke Goedeke (67) attempts to block during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota dropped Week 1 and 2 contests to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, and like Los Angeles, must win in Week 3 or risk tumbling into early-season hopelessness. In fact, the Vikings have overcome an 0-2 start to a season just once in franchise history, the 2008 campaign, or Brad Childress’ third year in charge.

The Vikings have never reached the playoffs after an 0-3 start, hitting the naughty mark six times in team history — in 1962, 1967, 2002, 2011, 2013, and 2020.

A New Wrinkle
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) dives for the end zone as New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (22) defends during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The call on the field was a touchdown but was changed after review. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota is 5-1 in its last six games following Thursday Night Football, with the only loss occurring in 2019 at the Matt Moore-led Kansas City Chiefs.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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