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What to Watch: Chargers vs. Vikings

How will the Chargers handle the run-heavy Vikings?

The 1-1 Chargers will take on the 1-1 Vikings Sunday in Minnesota. Here's what to watch:

Bettin’ on the front seven:

The Chargers allowed the Bengals to run for 175  yards in Week Two of the season. The Lions allowed Adrian Peterson alone to run for 134 yards in Week Two of the season. See where I’m going here? If the Chargers can’t plug the holes, Peterson is going to run right through them all game. It’s going to be -- in a word -- ugly.

 Norv knows … or does he?

Vikings’ offensive coordinator Norv Turner held the same position in San Diego in 2001 and the head coach position from 2007 through 2012. He knows how Philip Rivers works, he knows how defensive coordinator John Pagano works  … But, it’s been years. Pagano has grown as a DC. The mixture of men is different. And just as Turner knows Pagano, Pagano knows Turner. While there might be some kind of mental advantage to all this familiarity, it seems like it may equalize in the end and won’t necessarily be the difference in the win.

Run ... again:

 The Chargers ran for an average of 5.2 yards per carry (131 rushing yards total) against the Bengals. It’s a step in the right direction for this ground game and especially for running back Melvin Gordon, who ran for a total of 88 yards Sunday and flashed some big gains.  If they can get that going in Minnesota – and not fall behind on the scoreboard – they can control the clock and allow Rivers to keep Peterson and the Vikings' offense off the field.

 Injury update:

Tight end Ladarius Green was diagnosed with another concussion this week – his second in two weeks and his third in under a year. He practiced (limited) this week and he’s questionable to play Sunday. If he doesn’t play – and let’s face it, SHOULD he play?! – expect tight ends David Johnson, John Phillips and Kyle Miller (recently re-signed this week) to get more time on the field.

 Fluker feelin it?

Eleven days after suffering a high ankle sprain in the season opener, right guard D.J. Fluker was back on the field Thursday, practicing with his teammates. Although limited (and the practice wasn’t padded), there’s a chance he could play Sunday, though my gut thinks they give it another week. If Fluker doesn’t play, expect right guard Chris Hairston to fill in again. This is an opportunity for the offensive line to show they can keep Rivers upright; he was sacked four times and hit at least seven times in 31 dropbacks against Cincinnati.

Also listed as "questionable" in Friday's injury report was cornerback Jason Verrett (foot).

 


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