Vikings Dominate Chargers to Set Up Big Monday Night Divisional Game
Written by Tony Schultz on December 15, 2019
Admittedly I was a little worried about today’s game. The Chargers were getting several key players back in this game and may be the most talented 5-9 team in the league. Phillip Rivers is a future Hall Fame quarterback and a fierce competitor and Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry can make spectacular plays. The Chargers the Vikings faced today did have some moments, but in the end had too may turnovers to make any real threat with four fumbles – one that was returned by Ifeadi Odenigbo for six points and three interceptions by Harrison Smith, Mike Hughes, and Anthony Harris. Danielle Hunter was everywhere today! I’m sure he served the Chargers their breakfast this morning because he served them sacks, fumbles, and even blocked downfield after knocking the ball loose leading Odenigbo to the end zone. Kirk Cousins and his offense was steady and didn’t have to be flashy with only one real deep shot to Stephon Diggs to setup the first of two touchdowns for backup Mike Boone who had to play after Dalvin Cook got injured and rookie Alexander Mattison was inactive due to an injury of his own. Adam Thielen was finally back and had a couple of nondescript catches and even a run that makes everyone feel good that he’s healthy going into an important stretch run into the playoffs. When the Vikings punted on their last drive it was great to see a bevy of backup players in on defense. Harris’ late interception allowed backup quarterback Sean Mannion to make an appearance to kneel down a few times and get the Vikings back home to finish up the season. Dan Bailey had an early missed extra point after Irv Smith Jr. got the first touchdown on the board, but was strong the rest of the game going four of four and hitting the rest of his extra points. The game was basically a home game as the stands were full of the “Purple Faithful” and the Skol Chant could be heard echoing over the airwaves. This was truly a team win as all three phases of the team shined today.
Now for the bad news: Dalvin Cook got hurt again. He has been dealing with some shoulder pain for a few weeks. He has played through it, but it keeps getting aggravated. He was sitting the rest of the game and was smiling so it may not be that bad as the game was getting out of hand and the training staff may have thought it best to just sit him. Xavior Rhodes didn’t play much either as he has been getting rotated out more as of late and came up limping after he had a tackle and wasn’t heard from again. Other than that is seemed to be a pretty healthy game. We’ll just have to see how Cook progresses the rest of the week. The next game the run game is going to be key and the Vikings will need their best running backs on the field as the team they face hasn’t been great at stopping the run.
Now we’re on to the next biggest game of the season as the Vikings will face the Green Bay Packers for a shot at the division title on Monday Night Football at US Bank Stadium. If the Vikings beat the Packers they will be tied record wise. The other multiple tie breakers are still in the Packers’ favor though so the Vikings would still need to have the Packers lose against the Lions the following week and beat the Bears to get the division and get a home playoff game. Not an easy prospect and relying on the Lions for help is not the best thing to hope for. The best chance for help was the Bears to beat Green Bay today, but the Packers pulled off the win to setup next week. How do the Vikings beat the Packers? Easy: run the ball often and well. They have struggled the last few years stopping the run and are built mostly to get after the opposing quarterback and let Aaron Rodgers keep the offense moving. Rodgers has been having a bad year statistically by his standards and is doing just enough to keep things going along with a steady running game. In their losses, they got blown out by the Chargers and got beat early by a bad Eagles team and got destroyed by the 49’ers. In other games they barely beat the struggling Redskins, squeaked past the Chiefs without Patrick Mahomes, and if not for a terrible throw by Cousins in their first meeting almost blew a 21 point first half to the Vikings who didn’t let them score the rest of the game at home. A-aron will be on point for sure and be going to his new favorite receiver Allen Lazard along with Devonte Adams as he always shines on primetime. Aaron Jones has been steady at running back, but has only three one hundred yard games this year. Conversely he has 12 rushing touchdowns. This will truly be a great matchup that the offense, defense, special teams, the ball boys, and even the fans will need to be a factor in it feels like. Cheese week is now in effect as another border battle comes with someone getting an early Christmas present and another step towards the playoffs.