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Vikings vs. Chargers Week 3 Game Preview

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings are back home in Week 3 looking to right the ship by hanging onto the football.

Minnesota has committed seven turnovers in its first two games, a three-point home loss to the Buccaneers and a six-point final deficit on the road against the Eagles.

The Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) will play their first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium, the venue the franchise helped Minnesota open in the first preseason game there in 2016.

L.A. also lost at home, falling 36-34 to Miami, and on the road (27-24 in overtime at Tennessee) in its first two weeks of 2023.

Kickoff is set for noon (CT).


A limited number of tickets are available for the Vikings vs. Chargers game. Fans interested in attending can purchase on

Vikings Uniform

The Vikings will be in their traditional modern home uniforms, with purple jerseys and white pants.

4 Storylines

1. Starting from here: Both teams have positives and negatives they can point to in their games that have concluded with disappointment.

Neither can erase the fact that each is minus-2 in W-L through two weeks, but Minnesota can take aim at the largest reason for opening 0-2: turnovers.

A cleaning of the slate can't happen, but a cleanup of critical mistakes can.

The Vikings are minus-six in takeaway-giveaway, having lost six fumbles in two weeks to go along with an interception in Week 1.

Minnesota's four fumbles lost last Thursday in Philadelphia prompted Head Coach Kevin O'Connell to talk about the need for better ball security shortly after the game and again on Friday. And again Wednesday.

"We try to vary six or seven different ball security drills. I'm sure you guys have seen a lot of the ones we've done since we've been here. All designed to really emphasize different aspects of ball security," O'Connell said. "[The] 'see-two, split-two' [drill] is when you're catching a ball in space and two zoning defenders are there attempting to converge and make the tackle. You've got to have great ball security to see that and then split those two defenders with great ball security and try to finish forward as fast as possible. So, we work that. We work different types of gauntlets where we incorporate punching different hammers, every piece of equipment you can find on the internet to work ball security. If we didn't have it before, we purchased it, and we will continue to do so and build drills to emphasize what we want to see out of our players."

The giveaways have resulted in Minnesota's average time of possession checking in at 24:57.

2. Finding some balance: Kirk Cousins has attempted 88 passes and been sacked four times for a total of 92 pass plays, compared to the Vikings running the ball just 26 times for a meager 69 yards (2.7 yards per carry).

Cousins has helped the Vikings earn 34 first downs by passing, but Minnesota has just two first downs by running the ball.

The Chargers have been able to move the chains by running (21 first downs) and passing (24 first downs).

Minnesota opened the season wanting to be more efficient with its running game. That goal remains as the Vikings have failed to move the ball against solid fronts presented by Tampa Bay and Philadelphia.

On Wednesday night, the team announced a trade agreement to acquire running back Cam Akers from the Rams. The deal is pending a physical exam.

3. Could be a close one: The NFL's continued emphasis on parity was illustrated this past week when 12 games were decided by eight or fewer points, tying a league record for the most games in one week.

When these teams last met in Los Angeles in 2019, Minnesota forced seven turnovers on the way to a 39-10 victory.

Since that Week 15 contest that season, the Vikings have played 57 regular-season or playoff games. Forty (70.2 percent) have been decided by one score (eight or fewer points), with Minnesota going 24-16.

The Chargers have played 55 games and have had 38 of those (69.1 percent) decided by one score.

4. Eyes on the line: The Vikings on Tuesday announced the signing of veteran guard Dalton Risner, who spoke with the media Wednesday after his first walk-through with the team. Risner's nameplate was added to his locker by Vikings Equipment Manager Mike Parson during the media session.

Risner said he's here to do whatever, which on Wednesday consisted of helping the Vikings first-team defense prepare for the Chargers.

The offensive line already has played eight different players through four quarters of football. Center Garrett Bradbury left Minnesota's Week 1 game early with a back injury. He's been replaced by Austin Schlottmann.

Christian Darrisaw suffered an ankle injury in the opener and did not play at Philadelphia. Olisaemeka Udoh started in Darrisaw's place but left the Eagles game with a season-ending quadriceps injury. He was replaced by veteran David Quessenberry.

Bradbury did not participate Wednesday, and Darrisaw was limited.

3 Things 'Bout the Chargers

1. They've protected the football: Unlike the Vikings, the first place the Chargers will point to for starting 0-2 won't be turnovers. Los Angeles is entering Week 3 at plus-2 in turnover differential.

The Chargers have not suffered an interception or lost fumble so far this season.

2. Don't be surprised if they go for it on fourth down: The Chargers went for it on fourth down three separate times last week against the Titans and converted all three times, making them 3-for-4 on the season.

Los Angeles converted a fourth-and-2 at the Tennessee 27 in the first quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams.

Then in the second quarter, the Chargers converted twice on the same drive. They moved the chains on a fourth-and-1 at the Tennessee 38 with a 10-yard run by Derius Davis before converting on a fourth-and-4 at the Titans 8 with a touchdown pass to Keenan Allen.

3. Pressure off the edge: The Chargers starting edge defenders are Khalil Mack, who has 84.5 career sacks, and Joey Bosa, who has recorded 62.5 sacks.

Mack is tied with James Harrison for 65th on the NFL's all-time official list. Bosa is tied for 130th with Mike Cofer and Vonnie Holliday. Bosa recorded two sacks last week for his 11th career game with 2.0 or more.

2 Trends

Jefferson going for triple-digit trifecta: With 150 yards in Week 1 and 159 more in Week 2, Jefferson became the fifth player since 1970 to record 150-plus yards in each of a team's first two games. He can become the first player since Josh Gordon in 2013 to post 150-plus in three consecutive games.

Yielding yards: The Chargers have yielded the most total yards (438.5) and passing yards (333.0) of any team so far in 2023. Los Angeles also ranks last in yards allowed per pass play (9.7) and is one of three teams that has allowed more than 8.00 yards per pass play, along with Seattle (8.9) and Chicago (9.1) through two weeks.

1 Talking Point

"Well, this league – we've been on the other side of them, too, going back to 2021. I mean, how many 2-minute losses did we have at the end of the game, you know, stuff where you're like, 'You've gotta be kidding me.' So we've also been on the horrible side of them for years. And yes, I think we course-corrected or corrected statistically, last year. We probably got back to even. So now we've tasted the challenges of when some of the breaks aren't going your way, but some of them aren't even breaks – it's just that we've gotta play better. It's a small sample size right now with two weeks, and now as the sample size grows, we've gotta course correct."

— Vikings Head QB Kirk Cousins when asked about not getting "breaks" this year compared to getting them last season


In addition to the return to Minnesota of Chargers linebacker Eric Kendricks and former Vikings assistants Ryan Ficken and Jeff Howard, reunions are set for two families.

Vikings defensive line coach Chris Rumph is the father of Chargers defensive lineman Chris Rumph II.

Minnesota tight end Nick Muse is the younger brother of Los Angeles linebacker Tanner Muse.

Team connections

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Series History

The Vikings are 8-6 all-time against the Chargers and 5-3 when hosting.