KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
SERIES: 10th meeting. Chargers lead series, 5-4. The Chargers prevailed the last time these teams played, winning 42-28 in San Diego. But the Chargers haven't won in Minnesota since 1993; they lost there in 1999.
PREDICTION: Chargers 28-23
KEYS TO THE GAME:
WR Chris Chambers is having exactly the impact the Chargers hoped for. Not only did he catch a touchdown in his first game for San Diego, he opened the field for TE Antonio Gates to catch two touchdowns in the first half last Sunday. Minnesota allows just 74.4 yards per game on the ground, so RB LaDainian Tomlinson will have to work for every inch. But with several big-play weapons now at his disposal, Chargers QB Philip Rivers will take aim at the Vikings' NFL-worst pass defense (288.3 yards per game).
The Vikings' weekly quarterback carousel is likely to stop on Tarvaris Jackson this week after he missed last Sunday's game. Brooks Bollinger will replace Jackson if he can't start or finish. RB Adrian Peterson has taken the feature role from Chester Taylor, but Minnesota needs to involve the rookie more in the passing game to combat the eight-man fronts the Vikings are constantly facing. San Diego allows just 3.6 yards per carry, so this could be a titanic clash.
CHARGERS: C Nick Hardwick (foot) is out 1-2 more weeks, replaced by Cory Withrow; DT Jamal Williams (knees) appears ready to return; OLB Shaun Phillips (groin), CB Quentin Jammer (hamstring) and WR Craig Davis (ankle sprain) could be game-time decisions.
VIKINGS: Jackson (fractured index finger) is limited in practice but expected to start, and primary backup Kelly Holcomb (neck) is out at least two games; WR Bobby Wade (knee) is uncertain.
FAST FACTS: Tomlinson needs four rushing touchdowns to tie Walter Payton (110) for third-most all-time. ... The Vikings are the only NFL team to score on every red-zone possession this season. Unfortunately, they've driven inside the 20 a league-low nine times (four TDs, five FGs).
CHARGERS PERSONNEL NEWS:
--OLB Shaun Phillips (groin) didn't practice but was able to do some running drills on the side. That said, it's getting late in the week and there is a real chance Phillips will be down on Sunday. He would be replaced by Marques Harris.
--WR Craig Davis (ankle) didn't practice and did some running on the side. But his gallop still doesn't look very smooth and he likely won't go this week.
--DT Jamal Williams (knees) continues to work and will play Sunday. That's a key with the Vikings offering Adrian Peterson at running back.
--DT Ryon Bingham (shoulder) was back at work after missing Wednesday's session. Bingham is a big part of the defensive line's rotation and becomes more critical if Williams would to suffer a setback during Sunday's game.
--C Nick Hardwick (foot) didn't practice and is out at least another week.
--CB Drayton Florence was fined $15,000 by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Texans QB Matt Schaub on Sunday. Florence will appeal.
VIKINGS PERSONNEL NEWS:
--QB Tarvaris Jackson is expected to start Sunday against San Diego after missing a game because of a broken index finger on his right (throwing) hand. Jackson was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but that is believed to be a precaution.
--QB Kelly Holcomb did not practice Wednesday or Thursday; he will miss at least two weeks because of a neck injury suffered last Sunday.
--WR Bobby Wade did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a knee injury and his availability for Sunday's game is in question.
--DE Brian Robison was able to take part in a limited role in Thursday's practice after sitting out Wednesday because of an illness.
--WR Troy Williamson was not with the team for a second consecutive day Thursday because of a death in the family.
--RT Ryan Cook was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a shoulder injury but is expected to play against the Chargers.
--LB Vinny Ciurciu was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a high-ankle sprain. He has missed the past two games.
--S Dwight Smith was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a hamstring injury that has kept him out the past two games.
--DE Erasmus James was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a shoulder injury. He has played in only one game this season.
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