Kirk Cousins didn't have to do much of anything outlandish in a win against the Lions. He threw for 242 yards and a touchdown while completing 80 percent of his passes, highlighted by a 44-yard completion to Stefon Diggs. The Vikings quarterback will be in for a stern test Sunday against a Chargers pass defense that ranks fourth with 196.6 yards allowed per game. Defensive end Joey Bosa is also a force, as he has 10.5 sacks on the season. It remains to be seen if wide receiver Adam Thielen will play. If he can't, the likes of Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, Dalvin Cook, Bisi Johnson and others have shown they can pick up the slack through the air.
Minnesota's secondary is coming off one of its best performances of late, thanks in part to Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's decision to form a rotation at cornerback between Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mike Hughes. Rhodes and Hughes were banged up and didn't finish the Lions game, but the platoon worked well in the first half. Philip Rivers is coming off his best game of the season with 314 passing yards and three scores to go along with a career-best passer rating of 154.4. Los Angeles features four players who have at least 500 receiving yards, the only team in the league to do so. Sunday will be a test for a Vikings secondary that is looking to ascend in December, as the Chargers rank fifth with 278.5 passing yards per game.
The Vikings always talk about wanting to control the game on the ground, and this might be the game to showcase that attitude. The Chargers have a stout defense, but rank 17th by allowing 108.2 rushing yards per game. If the Vikings can get the two-pronged attack of Cook and rookie Alexander Mattison going on the ground, then Minnesota can keep possession of the ball and also set up Cousins for chunk plays through the air. Keep an eye on linebacker Thomas Davis, who is in his first season with the Chargers after playing 13 seasons for the Panthers. The veteran always makes his presence felt on the field, and blocking him will be key to establishing the running game.
The Vikings have used a bend-but-don't break approach on defense against the run. Minnesota ranks 11th by allowing 101.8 rushing yards per game, but the Vikings are tied for the fewest rushing touchdowns allowed with five. The Chargers rush for 97.2 yards per game (22nd in the NFL), but are coming off a season-high 195 rushing yards against Jacksonville. Los Angeles relies on the tandem of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, who have combined for 1,004 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Ekeler also leads the Chargers with eight touchdown catches. The Vikings allowed just 70 rushing yards Sunday against the Lions, as Linval Joseph looked like his pre-knee-injury self with a dominating performance.