Brees hit McCardell three times on the drive for 42 yards, including a third down completion to a wide open McCardell for seven and the early lead. He also hit Justin Peelle on a route similar to one Antonio Gates would be in on. Brees hit Peelle in stride down on a post route to the Vikings 16 yard line for a gain of 26 yards to setup the touchdown pass.
Daunte Culpepper came out on fire in his second series of the night. He completed four straight passes for 73 yards, including a 34-yard gain to Nate Burleson. After Culpepper fumbled the ball, losing nine yards, the Vikings had to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Paul Edinger.
The aerial attack continued post-Randy Moss with Culpepper hitting Burleson for a huge gain on an in-route for 33 yards as Burleson got a step on Jamar Fletcher. A personal foul on Matt Wilhelm tacked another 15 yards to the drive but the defense held, keeping the Vikings to another Edinger field goal to keep the 7-6 lead.
They went deep again on the third series with Culpepper hitting Williamson down the sidelines in front of Sammy Davis 36 yards down the field. After the play, Brad Johnson replaced Culpepper at quarterback. The defense again stopped the drive in San Diego territory and Edinger drove one through from 50 yards out to give the Vikings a 9-7 lead.
"I've never seen it either," Culpepper said of being pulled mid-drive. "The boss man said he's seen enough. When he says that, I have to come on out. It's the preseason."
Culpepper ended his day 12-for-14 for 197 yards.
Brad Johnson executed the two-minute drill to perfection, aided by a pass interference call in the end zone on Markus Curry that placed the ball at the one yard line with just seconds remaining in the half. Adimchinobe Echemandu ran it in on the next play to give the Vikings a 16-7 lead heading into halftime.
A roughing the passer call on Marques Harris and a 15-yard face mask on Matt Wilhelm added 30 yards to the Vikings drive. Add in a 15 yard pass and the Vikings were inside the Chargers ten with first and goal. The Chargers defense toughened up and held them to a 19-yard field goal.
Cleo Lemon hit Duncan Reid for a 32 yard gain down the middle of the field and again connected with Reid on fourth down and six for the first down to extend the drive. It put the Bolts in position for a field goal and Nate Kaeding was perfect from 46 yards out and bring the Bolts within nine.
They closed to within three when Lemon threw a bullet to Carl Morris for a 13-yard touchdown. The drive was setup by Derek Farmer who busted off a 27-yard run. The missed the two point conversion. The Vikings ended up running out the clock, a 19-16 win.