The Vikings and the Los Angeles Chargers have been walking down a similar path so far this season.
Both teams started their 2023 campaigns with 0-2 records after making the postseason a year ago. The two clubs have also lost both games this season by single digits (the Vikings by a combined nine points, the Chargers by five).
The biggest difference between the two sides, though, are the turnovers. Minnesota has turned the ball over seven times in its first two games, while the Chargers have committed zero turnovers.
The Vikings and Chargers have met 14 times in their history, with Minnesota holding a slim 8-6 advantage. Minnesota has won four of the past five matchups in the series, including three consecutive games (31-14 in 2015, 39-10 in 2019 and 27-20 in 2021).
The Vikings are 5-3 at home all-time against the Chargers, who will be making their first regular-season visit to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. The Chargers faced Minnesota in the venue's inaugural preseason game in 2016 while the organization was still operating out of San Diego.
Let's see who the experts are picking to win the game:
Vikings 34, Chargers 31 – John Breech, CBS Sports
I have no idea how it happened, but a game featuring two winless teams might be the best game on the schedule this week. Well, it might not be the best, but it should certainly be the most entertaining. For one, you have the Chargers, who find a new way to lose every week.
As for the Vikings, they're almost as entertaining as the Chargers and that's because every game they play in is decided by one score. Last year, that was a good thing, because the Vikings won all their one-score games, going 11-0. This year, the law of averages finally caught up to them and they're now 0-2 in one-score games. The law of averages always gets you. I learned that in college.
Through two weeks, the Chargers have given up more passing yards than any team in the NFL, and now, they have to face the team that has arguably the best wide receiver in the league in Justin Jefferson. I'm not sure what the NFL record is for receiving yards in a game, but Jefferson might get it in one quarter against the Chargers. OK, so I looked up the record and it's 336 yards. I don't think Jefferson will get that in one quarter, but he might get it in one half.
This game feels like a shootout waiting to happen with the Vikings only winning after the Chargers invent another impossible way to lose. If the Chargers do lose this game and drop to 0-3, [Head Coach] Brandon Staley's hot seat is going to be the same temperature as the surface of the sun.
Vikings 32, Chargers 30 – Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
This is a game featuring two 0-2 teams in dire need of a victory. The Chargers are playing consecutive road games, while the Vikings will be playing on 10 days rest. That, coupled with the inability of the Chargers to stop anybody, will give the Vikings their first victory. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson go nuts.
Chargers 38, Vikings 35 – Staff, Bleacher Report
Last year, these teams clinched playoff berths. Now, both squads go into a potential elimination game for postseason contention. The team that loses will have an extremely difficult pathway back to the playoffs.
Following a 34-28 Thursday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikings have had extra time to prepare for this game.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers can't seem to close games, losing small fourth-quarter leads in both defeats.
While these clubs have zero combined wins, they're going to put on an offensive fireworks show. The Chargers field the sixth-ranked scoring attack, and the Vikings have one of the league's best wide receivers in Justin Jefferson for a matchup with a defense that's giving up the most yards through the air.
Vikings 38, Chargers 34 – Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
The Chargers like to blow close games late. The Vikings like to pull out close games late. Their respective pass-happy, high-scoring thriller styles have put both teams at 0-2 as the defenses have been liabilities and the offenses can't always do enough in the end to compensate. Justin Herbert vs. Kirk Cousins will be full of fireworks, and based on the history and makeup of former Sean McVay ace assistants Brandon Staley and Kevin O'Connell, advantage Minnesota.
Vikings 31, Chargers 28 – Bill Bender, Sporting News
This is a battle of two desperate 0-2 teams that made the postseason in 2022. The Vikings had a long week after the Thursday Night Football loss to the Eagles. The Chargers lost an overtime heartbreaker to the Titans. Los Angeles' losses are by a combined total of five points, and the Vikings are no stranger to one-score games. A small upset here puts more heat on Chargers [Head] Coach Brandon Staley.
3 of 7 experts pick the Vikings, The MMQB
4 of 7 experts (three of 10 total had not submitted) pick the Vikings, ESPN
"Straight-up consensus" from seven experts: Chargers, Bleacher Report
6 of 11 experts pick the Vikings, The Athletic