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San Diego Chargers at Minnesota Vikings
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The San Diego Chargers return to action following last Saturday’s 28-20 win over the Dallas Cowboys when they fly to “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” to face the Minnesota Vikings. The two teams met in the 2011 season opener, with San Diego prevailing 24-17.
A Look Back At Last Week
The Chargers rallied to their second straight win by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 28-20, pushing their record to 2-0 this preseason. Down 10-0 at halftime, Charlie Whitehurst had a magnificent first drive, completing five of six passes including an 18-yard touchdown strike to Vincent Brown. A 73-yard interception return by Shareece Wright set up a two-yard touchdown by Jackie Battle to give the Chargers the lead for good. The Bolts would later add to their tally with a 38-yard TD catch by Mike Willie and a four-yard run by Jacob Hester.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
The third exhibition game has traditionally afforded the team’s starters the most minutes of the preseason, with them usually remaining in the game into the third quarter. Should that continue to be the case, Philip Rivers and the first-team offense will see their most extensive work to date which will be a strong indicator of where they stand in preparation for the season opener on September 10th.
Also, with Vincent Brown missing a significant amount of time with a broken left ankle, Friday’s game will be the first opportunity for many of the young wide receivers to make a name for themselves by stepping up and filling the void created by his injury.
On Offense for the Vikings
Minnesota’s top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Christian Ponder enters 2012 as the team’s starting quarterback. Ponder started 10 games as a rookie and completed 158 of 291 passes (54.3%) for 1,853 yards with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His top target was Percy Harvin, who caught 87 balls for 967 yards and six scores. All-pro running back Adrian Peterson is not expected to play in the game as he was only recently activated off the PUP list.
On Defense for the Chargers
Turnovers was the name of the game for the Bolts vs. the Cowboys, with a Shareece Wright interception setting up the go-ahead touchdown and a Wright forced fumble sealing the game for all intents and purposes. Donald Butler also came up with a first-half interception deep in San Diego territory that prevented further damage, allowing the Chargers to remain within striking distance for their second-half comeback. Look for the squad to tee off against a young quarterback in Ponder, who in just 10 starts in 2011 threw 13 picks.
On Defense for the Vikings
Leading the way for the Vikings defense is linebacker Chad Greenway, last year’s leading tackler with 174 stops. Formidable four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen wreaks havoc up front, coming off a season in which he led the NFL with 22 sacks. In the secondary, safety Jamarca Sanford led the Vikings in 2011 with a pair of interceptions.
Preseason Series History
Friday’s game at the Metrodome will mark the 14th preseason game between the Chargers and Vikings. Minnesota holds a 10-2-1 advantage in the series. It’s the Chargers’ first visit to Minnesota for a preseason game since 2005.
By the Numbers
So far this preseason, the Chargers rank 17th in total offense (302.0 yards per game), eighth in passing (241.5 ypg) and 29th in rushing (60.5ypg). The Vikings rank 15th in total offense (314.5 ypg), 14th in passing (193.5 ypg) and 10th in rushing (121.0 ypg).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 12th in total defense (298.0 ypg), 25th in passing (232.0 ypg) and 2nd in rushing (66.0 ypg). Minnesota ranks 29th in total defense (364.5 ypg), 14th in passing (200.5 ypg) and 32nd in rushing (164.0 ypg).
Chargers assistant secondary coach Cris Dishman played for the Vikings in 2000. Read
Vikings Assistant to the Head Coach Cameron Turner is the nephew of Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner.
Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer’s father, Chuck, was the Chargers’ special teams coach from 1992-96.
Chargers scout Tom McConnaughey ended his NFL playing career with the Vikings in 1985. Fellow scout Regis Eller is the son of former Vikings’ Pro Football Hall of Famer Carl Eller.
Chargers defensive tackle Garrett Brown attended the University of Minnesota.
Vikings wide receiver Bryan Walters originally signed with the Chargers as an undrafted rookie in 2010. He spent time on the Bolts’ practice squad in 2010 and played for the team in 2011.
Running back Jordan Todman was drafted by the Chargers in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL draft (183rd overall).
Former Chargers and Vikings linebacker Ben Leber now works as a sideline reporter on the Vikings preseason television and radio broadcasts.
Vikings with ties to Southern California include fullback Matt Asiata (Santa Ana), running back Derrick Coleman (Fullerton and UCLA), linebacker Solomon Elimimian (Los Angeles),fullback Rhett Ellison (USC), running back Toby Gerhart (Norco), defensive end Everson Griffen (USC), tackle Matt Kalil (Corona and USC), punter Chris Kluwe (Los Alamitos and UCLA), tackle Kevin Murphy (San Clemente), defensive end D’Aundre Reed (Morena Valley), defensive end Nick Reed (Mission Viejo) and guard Geoff Schwartz (Pacific Palisades).
KFMB-TV (Channel 8 in San Diego) and KCBS0–TV (Channel 2 in Los Angeles) – Dan Fouts (play-by-play), Billy Ray Smith (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)