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‘Will Be Purple And Gold In That Stadium,’ SportsLine’s Kenny White On Vikings-Chargers Matchup

‘Will Be Purple And Gold In That Stadium,’ SportsLine’s Kenny White On Vikings-Chargers Matchup

(CBS Minnesota) — The NFC North remains a three-team race, believe it or not. The Minnesota Vikings sit one game behind the Green Bay Packers, who lead the division, and two games ahead of the Chicago Bears, who are still mathematically alive. The Packers and the Bears play each other in Week 15. The Vikings will then play the former in Week 16 and the latter in Week 17. The division can’t be clinched Sunday.

By the time the Vikings play the Chargers in Los Angeles, the terrain in the NFC North may have already shifted. Regardless of who wins the early game, the Vikings need to take care of business in the later game. And the matchup lines up nicely for them.

As SportsLine NFL analyst Kenny White notes, “we talk a lot about the Chargers not having a home-field advantage since they moved from San Diego to LA. It has not been a very good ATS [against the spread] record for them at home, just 7-18-1. And there will be more Minnesota Vikings fans in the stands this weekend than there will be Charger fans. It has been a negative to play at home for the Chargers.”

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The Chargers are coming off a 45-10 blowout win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Philip Rivers threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns. Austin Ekeler topped 100 yards both rushing and receiving. While it was a nice win, it was also “…against Jacksonville, a team who, I think, has given up on their head coach,” as White describes them. “They have not played good football. So the Chargers just fell into the right situation. They’d lost their three previous games. This is going to be a tough one this week against the Vikings.”

Another important point is that the Chargers, who have a losing record, at 5-8, are already eliminated from the playoffs. Philip Rivers may be on his way out, and they don’t have all that much to play for. The Vikings, on the other hand, have a lot to play for, namely playoff position and possibly an NFC North title.

Still, Minnesota comes into the matchup as 2.5-point favorites. As one of the league’s more balanced teams, the Vikings have won three of their last four. Dalvin Cook’s production has dropped off, but Kirk Cousins remains consistent. The defense gave up a lot of points to the Seattle Seahawks but is perfectly capable of slowing down the Chargers.

According to White, “the Chargers have a losing record, so that fits well for the Minnesota Vikings. They beat up on bad teams. I think this is a great spot for them. I just mentioned the stat about the Chargers at home. You can add home-field advantage to the Vikings, because I know there will be more Minnesota Vikings fans. It will be purple and gold in that stadium this weekend. Bet the Vikings this week.”

The Vikings play the Chargers Sunday @ 3:05 p.m. CT on CBS.

Visit SportsLine now to get NFL picks from Vegas insiders, and see the top-rated picks from an advanced computer model that’s up over $7,000.

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Author: Minnesota Vikings News and Updates from WCCO, CBS Channel 4 – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Adam Thielen off Vikings injury report, Xavier Rhodes questionable for Sunday

Adam Thielen off Vikings injury report, Xavier Rhodes questionable for Sunday

The signs pointed toward Adam Thielen returning to the Vikings lineup throughout the week and nothing changed on Friday. Thielen was not given an injury designation for Sunday’s game against the Chargers, which means he’s set to play this weekend. Thielen has been sidelined for the last four games by a hamstring injury that he [more]

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Author: Josh Alper

2 Questionable, Kearse and Mattison Out | Final Vikings-Chargers Injury Report

2 Questionable, Kearse and Mattison Out | Final Vikings-Chargers Injury Report


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Author: Vikings Digital

Lunchbreak: Cousins Continues to Move Up NFL.com’s QB Rankings

Lunchbreak: Cousins Continues to Move Up NFL.com’s QB Rankings


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Author: Lindsey Young

Opposing Viewpoint: Chargers Writer Answers 5 Questions About Los Angeles

Opposing Viewpoint: Chargers Writer Answers 5 Questions About Los Angeles


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Author: Eric Smith

3 Non-Vikings Games to Watch in Week 15

3 Non-Vikings Games to Watch in Week 15


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Author: Eric Smith

Adam Thielen “very happy” with progress of hamstring

Adam Thielen “very happy” with progress of hamstring

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen has felt ready to go before, only to find out he wasn’t. So while he’s feeling optimistic about returning to the field this week, he’s learned to take a shorter view. “Right now, I’m just taking it one day at a time, just focusing on the day,” Thielen said, via [more]

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Author: Darin Gantt

‘You Can’t Take No Team Lightly’: Minnesota Vikings’ Playoff Push Leads To Chargers

‘You Can’t Take No Team Lightly’: Minnesota Vikings’ Playoff Push Leads To Chargers

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings realize they can’t stop to take a deep breath in the final three weeks of the regular season — not even at sea level on the sunny West Coast.

With the Green Bay Packers ahead of them in the NFC North and the Los Angeles Rams right on their tails in the wild-card race, the Vikings (9-4) might need to be perfect in their final three games just to make the playoffs.

The next stop on Minnesota’s perilous path to the postseason is a suburban soccer stadium hosting its next-to-last NFL game. The Los Angeles Chargers (5-8) have already been eliminated from playoff contention, but they’ve got more than enough talent and motivation to worry the Vikings in their final road game of the regular season.

“It’s the NFL, so you can’t take no team lightly,” Vikings running back Dalvin Cook said.

The Vikings have won seven of nine with an increasingly impressive offense and a playmaking defense, but they realize the Chargers are a danger not indicated by their record.

Los Angeles’ eight losses have all been by seven points or fewer, leaving the Chargers out of the playoff race despite a plus-38 point differential and elite talent on both sides of the ball. The Bolts’ late-game execution has doomed them repeatedly, while the Vikings pulled out a pair of narrow victories last month to kick-start their playoff push.

A loss by the Vikings would greatly benefit the Rams, who will be the Chargers’ stadium roommates next season. That’s not a motivation for the Bolts, who are still fighting for coach Anthony Lynn’s stated goal to rally back to .500.

READ MORE: Here’s What The Vikings Need To Do To Make The Playoffs

“We want to win for us,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “Obviously, it’s been tough with every loss by one score. We’re playing for us, but certainly, there’s a lot on the line for them. The Rams are pulling for us as well. It’ll be a heck of a game.”

TRIPPING UP

Road games on the West Coast have long been tricky for teams in the Central or Eastern time zones, and the Vikings have been no exception.

After losing 37-30 at Seattle two games ago, they’re 1-6 on the road in the Mountain and Pacific time zones in six seasons under coach Mike Zimmer. Their last such win was at Oakland in 2015. Five of those losses were in night games, so the NFL did the Vikings a favor by recently moving this contest out of prime time and into the late afternoon slot.

Another category that could hinder the Vikings? The natural grass at Dignity Health Sports Park. They’ve won only one of seven games on grass over the last two seasons, at Philadelphia in 2018.

“Good football teams, no matter what comes at them, find a way to still get the job done,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said.

FINALLY HOME

The Chargers haven’t played a home game since Nov. 3, and they have just two left in their temporary stadium south of downtown Los Angeles. While the Vikings are likely to have a serious fan turnout, the Bolts are used to that — and they’re still grateful to be home for the next two weeks believing they can reset their mentality with a regular schedule.

DIGGS DEEP

Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs is fifth in the NFL with an average of 17.8 yards per reception. When he’s targeted on an attempt of 20 or more yards in the air, the passer rating of 139.2 is second best in the league behind only Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce. Diggs has seven catches of 40 or more yards, tied for second in the NFL with Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans and trailing only Mike Williams of the Chargers with eight. His success with Cousins going deep has been a big reason the Vikings have won seven of their last nine games and stayed on track for the playoffs despite the loss of two-time Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen to a hamstring injury. Thielen has been limited to 16 snaps over the previous seven games.

“Be able to run routes at a high level, catch the ball and have success down the field is just part of the game that you work at, but I never wanted to be good at one thing. I just wanted to be a good receiver,” Diggs said.

THIELEN READY?

Thielen has practiced on a limited basis this week and could finally be at full strength again on Sunday. After the initial injury on Oct. 20 at Detroit, he had a false start on Nov. 3 at Kansas City that forced him out again in the first quarter, making the Vikings extra cautious about his return. The Vikings have averaged 27 points over their last seven games.

“I’m excited. The only thing you’re worried about is, ‘Hey, we’ve got a good rhythm going, you know?’” Cousins said, smiling. “It does feel different when you have him back. It has a different dynamic, so you just joke with him, ‘Hey, don’t rock the boat too much.’”

READ MORE: ‘I Was In Shock’: Vikings Halftime Hot Air Balloon Disaster Recounted 50 Years Later

UNDER PRESSURE

Keep an eye on the matchup between Vikings sack machine Danielle Hunter and the Chargers’ offensive tackles. While left tackle Russell Okung is usually rock-solid, right tackle Sam Tevi is learning on the job and has given up too many chances to get at the relatively static Rivers. Hunter is tied for fourth in the league with 12 1/2 sacks after becoming the youngest player to reach 50 career sacks last week.

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Author: Minnesota Vikings News and Updates from WCCO, CBS Channel 4 – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Adam Thielen practices again for Vikings

Adam Thielen practices again for Vikings

The Vikings face a stiff challenge on Sunday at L.A., against the Chargers. They may be getting receiver Adam Thielen back for the game. Thielen practiced on a limited basis on Thursday, his second practice of the week. He injured a hamstring in Week Seven against the Lions, and he tried to return two weeks [more]

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Author: Mike Florio

Thursday’s Vikings-Chargers Injury Report

Thursday’s Vikings-Chargers Injury Report


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Author: Vikings Digital