Written by on November 14, 2021

One of the best things about playing the LA Chargers is that it feels like a home game when the Vikings stroll into the stadium. You could see and hear the “Skol chant” being proudly screamed by the throng of California Purple fans in SoFi Stadium. The first half of the Vikings at LA Chargers game actually started out differently for the Vikings. For the first time since last year the Vikings didn’t score on their opening drive. They didn’t play the opening drive poorly, but they stalled out and I thought, “Maybe if they don’t do that they will win without having to score in the last moments or even go into overtime. Wouldn’t that be nice?” If the Vikings had run on every play that wouldn’t surprise me either as the Chargers have one of the worst running defenses in the league. Kirk Cousins mixed it up a bit with plenty of play action and was on target on a bunch of early passes that were attacking LA downfield. This opened up the run game and Dalvin Cook took advantage of it running for 61 yards in the first half. Along with that after not targeting Justin Jefferson much in the last two games he already had 5 catches for 73 yards and the offense seemed to be performing sharply. The defense was also playing well against a great offensive team with 2020 rookie of the year Justin Herbert at QB. When Eric Kendricks intercepted him in their own end of the field you felt that this was the game that Vikings finally take it over. Wait, didn’t we feel that way last week? Oh crap. The Vikings got to the 4 yard line and Cousins hit CJ Ham with a touchdown pass that was negated by a Christian Darrisaw holding penalty. You add in a huge punt return from Dede Westbrook as well in the first half that got squandered when Cousins got sacked and fumbled the ball and the feeling that opportunities were being missed was again creeping in. The Vikings and Chargers exchanged field goals in the first half until Cousins threw a Favre-like bullet to tight end Tyler Conklin for the first touchdown of the game. Unfortunately, the Vikings penchant for letting the opposition come back in the last few minutes of the half by letting Larry Rountree the 3rd dive over the pile for a score to make it 13-10. The Vikings had the lead as they headed into halftime. Could they come out and keep up the offensive production and command the second half?

Vikings vs Chargers highlights

The Chargers came out and drove the field and Herbert hit Austin Eckler with a pass in the end zone and the Chargers took the lead quickly in the 3rd quarter. You just felt that the script was going to follow the last few weeks and another loss was on the way even after Kirk Cousins floated another TD pass to Conklin to put the team up 20-17. One of the better things you could see with the Vikings was on the defensive side of the ball as they were sending multiple blitzes from all areas of the field. Rookie safety Camryn Bynum filling in for Harrison Smith – out due to Covid, got his first interception last week and added to it with his first sack today. That was made possible by the tricky defensive coverages the Vikings were utilizing that seemed to be missing the last few weeks. Eric Kendricks had a huge day on defense being all over the field and added a huge sack in the first half to go with his interception. The offense continued to perform well in the second half and the plays were more aggressive and they kept feeding Justin Jefferson to keep the Chargers on their heels, and Justin was eating well. He finished with 9 catches for 143 yards and had several highlight catches. In the 3rd when the Vikings moved the ball on a few 3rd and longs and got Cook into the endzone there was a feeling of relief and complete control. Finally, an easy win without overtime or last-minute heroics was in reach and I could put away the shot of whiskey I was going to have in anger. The Vikings kept the defensive pressure up and the offensive production going and they secured the win in a manner they should have more often this season. They only allowed one more field goal by the Chargers and kept the ball in the offense’s hands to run the clock out and even went for it on 4th and 1 and converted. It was a nice way to end the day just relaxing and enjoying the win instead of wondering if this would finally be Mike Zimmer’s last game and whether winning any more games this year would be worth it. So instead of being frustrated I drank that shot in celebration. What? I had already poured it.

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