MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes traded his jersey for the San Diego 28 of his childhood friend, Chargers running back Melvin Gordon after their first time meeting on an NFL field.
Waynes is likely to take better care of it than teammates did while limiting the Gordon to 51 yards on 14 carries and a long of 13 yards.
The Vikings wanted to take away the run early and did, limiting the Chargers to 32 yards on 11 carries and a long of 8 in the first half by swarming to the football in a 31-14 win.
"It's important to be able to do that," Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. "I know that our guys are starting to take a lot of pride (in stopping the run). … "it's about a mindset and about physicality and about toughness and all the things that I really try to preach every single day."
Because Minnesota (2-1) had success with that, the San Diego 17 jersey of Philip Rivers had it even worse.
The Vikings recorded four sacks and were led by Everson Griffen's 1.5, with the other half going to Sharrif Floyd.
"We're just rushing, calling good blitzes, playing Vikings football. Whatever it takes to win the game we're doing," Griffen said. "You stop the run, you get to rush the passer. The more we stop the run, the more we're going to get to rush the passer. If we keep on stopping the run like this, we're always going to affect the quarterback."
Anthony Barr and Tom Johnson each recorded 1.0 apiece. Barr's occurred as he forced a fumble by Rivers that was recovered by Captain Munnerlyn to set up a field goal in the first quarter.
"It was very helpful this weekend, trying to create pressure. They were down a couple of linemen so they got confused a couple of times, and we got a lot of free runs on the quarterback," Barr said. "Any time you do that, the quarterbacks start to feel that and get a little antsy back there."
Johnson's forced a punt to start the second half, preceding a 20-yard return by Marcus Sherels and 43-yard touchdown by Adrian Peterson on the Vikings first offensive snap of the second half.
According to the press box tally, the Vikings recorded 12 quarterback hurries, including five by Griffen. One of the pressures Griffen forced by shoving King Dunlap backward several yards into Rivers, with the left tackle hitting his own QB as he threw a pass that bounced off Stevie Johnson's hands and into Chad Greenway's. The 10-year linebacker returned it 91 yards for a touchdown that iced the game.
Waynes was part of Greenway's convoy of blockers.
"That was fun. I was tired after the play, but it was a great play by him and the rest of the defense for blocking," Waynes said. "The guy behind him was a receiver and he was pretty fast. I just threw a block."
Waynes fills in for Rhodes: Waynes was on the field in place of Xavier Rhodes, who suffered a concussion at the end of the first half when he collided head-first with Andrew Sendejo's chest.
Zimmer and teammates said Waynes rose to the occasion.
"I thought he did good. He made some good plays," Zimmer said. "They went at him early, the first play of the half and threw a stop route on him. He made the tackle."
Waynes limited Keenan Allen to a gain of 7 on the play, Harrison Smith followed by tackling Danny Woodhead for a 4-yard loss, and Johnson followed with his sack of Rivers in a critical stretch.
"Guys are going to catch passes on you, but he eliminated the yards-after-catch yards," Munnerlyn said. "He tackled guys real well and made plays when they came to him."
Added Smith: "I couldn't watch him, but from what I gathered, he was playing great. When those guys caught the ball, he was right there on them and not giving up deep balls. It's a hard position for a rookie to go in and play, especially against an offense like that. I thought he played awesome."
Back-to-back 100 : As determined as the Vikings were to shut down the run on defense, they were also committed to establishing their ground game and rushed 31 times for 163 yards, including a kneel-down by Teddy Bridgewater for minus-1 at the end of the game.
Peterson's 20 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns led the way and were highlighted by a 43-yard TD, prompting him to say, "Yeah, I think I'm back." It was the second straight week for Peterson to rush for more than 100 yards.
Injuries: In addition to Rhodes, the Vikings also had Charles Johnson suffer a ribs injury, Justin Trattou suffer an ankle injury, and Sendejo suffer a leg injury.