The San Diego Chargers social media account has blown up like a wildfire about a certain draft pick and his absence from camp. Amid all the drama the team sets off this week to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in week three of the preseason. This will be the first game played at the new $1.1 billion dollar US Bank Stadium. Starting players on each and every team (league-wide) prepare for lengthy playing time this week. The game has an unusual preseason start time of 10am PST Sunday Aug 28th, and will be nationally televised on Fox. A bit of an irony that a new stadium never seen before will include a game with the San Diego Chargers.
Minnesota is fresh off of an NFC North crown in 2015 and is a favorite to win the NFC North. Adrian Peterson is still a physical specimen and he has had past success verses San Diego. Including last years 43 yard touchdown run in Minnesota early in the year. Overall Peterson rushed for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015.
Teddy Bridgewater is now in his third year and appears more confident. He should improve on his modest 2015 numbers. 3,231 yards 14 touchdowns and 9 interceptions is decent, but look for an uptick in production. Bridgewater has a new weapon at wide receiver in rookie Laquon Treadwell from Old Miss. 2015 fantasy sleeper, second year wideout Stefon Diggs returns as well for the Vikings. Diggs posted 52 grabs last season with 720 yards and four touchdowns.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph, had a solid season by his standards and appears to be a safety net for Minnesota’s QB. Rudolph had 49 receptions 495 yards and five touchdowns last season. Wide receivers Charles Johnson and seldom used Cordarrelle Patterson, round out the solid but not overpowering corp.
In other words, this team fits the division they are in. The NFC North goes from a passing conference to a running conference for a better part of the season. It’s obviously based on the weather. These type of teams are built for the playoffs. Conservative passing, strong run game and staunch defense is their game.
Minnesota’s defense features fourth-year defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, seventh-year defensive end Everson Griffen, third-year linebacker Anthony Barr, 11-year linebacker Chad Greenway and fifth-year free safety Harrison Smith to name a few. Griffen was all over Philip Rivers in last years game in Minnesota. Hopefully the new and improved O-Line will protect him better. Chad Greenway intercepted Rivers on a 91-yard touchdown return last year for what was the veterans highlight of the 2015 season. Fourth-year cornerback Xavier Rhodes is also a solid player for the Vikings. I don’t believe we’ve seen his best just yet and he has many years of production ahead if him.
Mike Zimmer, has built a formidable group on defense since taking over in Minnesota in 2014. Our old friend Norv Turner, seems happy and thriving as an offensive coordinator after being fired in San Diego following the 2012 season. It helps to know your enemy I suppose. Although this a preseason contest, let’s hope for a better result than 31-14 Vikings.
The Good Guys:
“The Slayer” Keenan Allen
Keenan Allen had a great game versus Minnesota in 2015. Allen had 12 receptions for 133 yards and TD. It was a stunning 34-yard score splitting defenders that is most memorable. It’s quite a famous GIF, look that puppy up.
We know we’ll be without star “holdout” rookie Joey Bosa (Yikes), Stevie Johnson, tight end Jeff Cumberland, & rookie offensive lineman Donavan Clark. Philip Rivers gets up for these type of games. Look for extended play by the big boys on offense and defense.
Gimmie Some Mo’
Hunter Henry- The young tight end has quickly become a fan favorite. Equipped with sticky mitts. Henry, appears to be the heir apparent to the current Hall-of-Famer Antonio Gates
Melvin Gordon-The young fellow is eating right, thinking right, and running hard. He looks like a different player. I believe the addition of a fullback helps along with plain old motivation.
Tyrell Williams & James Jones-I’d like to believe we’re looking at a player who could become a Malcolm Floyd type in Williams. James Jones is a veteran wide receiver, he helps offset the injury to Stevie Johnson. San Diego shouldn’t miss a beat with the young and veteran receivers.
Danny Woodhead & Branden Oliver– You look closely enough and witness a theme. A veteran player that can pass the torch to a younger player. Look no further than these two. Low to the ground solid running back’s that seldom go down after the first hit. Also both are excellent catching passes out of the backfield.
Denzel Perryman– The second year linebacker is a thumper… plain and simple. The impact of having Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget allows Perryman to run wild and attack. (Joey Bosa no en casa) Ooh The possibilities if he were, we need a mediator. Get it done already!
Brandon Mebane– The defensive tackle brings a Championship pedigree and veteran know-how to the team. Playing a leadership role and a space eater on the field for the Bolts is what he provides. If Mebane & Liuget anchor the front everyone else succeeds on defense.
What We Would Like To See:
The Offensive line will be tested once again vs Minnesota. No further injuries along with time for Philip Rivers, and improved running lanes for the run game would be ideal. D.J. Fluker may rest after his recent foot injury in practice following the Arizona contest.
We have no idea what to expect without Eric Weddle at safety. In the sample size we’ve seen, both safety’s appear physical. Addae looked like his hair was on fire vs Arizona on a 61 yard interception, in which he nearly scored. There has been a lot of talk of chemistry and brotherhood in the secondary.
Let’s hope so, I’m ready for another playoff run.
It’s Preseason Week 3 and live bullets are around the corner.