Vikings Fall to 0-3 and Have Many Questions to Answer


Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to throws a pass against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers went into Week 3 with both teams trying to escape 0-2 holes and revive their seasons.

It was a “loser leaves town match” as one of these teams would be 0-3 at the end of the day, and it looks like the Vikings are the losers leaving town as they fell 28-24.

Vikings Fall to 0-3 vs. Chargers

Vikings Fall
Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) runs the ball as Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Nick Niemann (31) moves in for the tackle during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This game got started with a very glaring absence of targets for Justin Jefferson. After totaling 150+ receiving yards during each of the first two games of the season, the star receiver did not see a single target over the course of the first quarter.

As a result, the offense sputtered to a total of zero points, and they trailed 7-0 when the first quarter came to a close. Once again, turnovers became an issue early on as T.J. Hockenson fumbled away the ball on the Chargers 17-yard-line during the Vikings opening possession.

Minnesota finally got a score midway through the second quarter when TE Josh Oliver caught a 4-yard pass to even the game at 7-7. Overall, one of the few silver linings from today can be the fact that Mattison had a pretty strong day running the ball, totaling 20 carries for 93 yards. However, he came very close to a couple more fumbles, meaning it may only be a matter of time before the fumbling becomes an issue once again.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Chargers safety Alohi Gilman (32) strips the ball from Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings added a field goal on their next possession, but another Chargers TD at the end of the second quarter meant Minnesota entered halftime trailing 14-10.

This afternoon proved to be the Keenan Allen show during the second half. Not only did he finish his day with a ridiculous 18 catches for 215 yards, but he also uncorked a 49-yard TD pass to Mike Williams in the third quarter that put LA up 21-10.

Needing a score to keep this one interesting, the Vikings responded very nicely. On a 4th-and-6 play, Cousins found K.J. Osborn, and he unleashed his inner Reggie Bush, taking it 36 yards and leaping into the end zone for a score.

After a Chargers punt on the ensuing possession, Justin Jefferson put on his own Superman cape and scored a 52-yard TD to give the Vikings the lead, 24-21. Of course, though, Justin Herbert is still Justin Herbert.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) catches a pass against the Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

On a day where the Chargers QB totaled 405 yards and 3 TDs, he came through when LA needed him most. He converted a 3rd-and-17 to Allen, and on the very next play, he hit Josh Palmer for a 30-yard score, re-taking the lead 28-24.

Of course, this would ultimately be our final score, but it did not happen without a roller coaster ride prior to the clock hitting triple zeros. The Vikings would drive down the field on their following possession, but in a goal-to-go situation, they turned the ball over on downs.

Los Angeles then turned the ball over on downs themselves after Brandon Staley made a questionable decision to go for it on their own 24-yard-line. On the hand-off to RB Joshua Kelley, it was Jonathan Bullard making a stop, thus giving the Vikings one last gasp of life.

It would end up being for naught, though, as Cousins tried to throw to T.J. Hockenson in tight coverage, and the tipped ball landed in the arms of Nick Niemann, ending the game.

Now, the Vikings sit at 0-3, in a hole that few teams dig themselves out of to make the playoffs. Since 2000, 88 teams have started 0-3. The only one to make the playoffs are the 2018 Houston Texans, who finished the year 11-5. Needless to say, this may have been the dagger to the season.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.





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