One of those linebackers, Stephen Cooper, isn't really a one-armed man but it's close. Cooper torn his biceps tendon in camp, but has convinced the coaches he can still play.
The coaches, under better circumstances, might decline Cooper's offer. But these are far from the good old days for the inside linebacker's spot, especially with the Vikings' Adrian Peterson coming to town.
The last time the Chargers tangled with Peterson in 2007, he rushed for an NFL-record 296 yards. And while it's unlikely he will go that far this time, he's also eager to start a contract year with a bang.
But how much bang will the Chargers get for their bucks spent inside?
Takeo Spikes is solid and he'll be the anchor. But starting opposite him is Donald Butler, who's next NFL snap will be his first. Butler missed his rookie season last year with an Achilles' tendon injury.
Behind those two is Cooper, as he plays with as much courage and guts as physical skills. Wrapping up Peterson with two healthy arms is tough enough -- good luck with only one.
Jonas Mouton was going to contribute, but he has a shoulder injury that will have him down on Sunday.
Maybe Na'il Diggs can give the unit a boost, but he's made his mark as an outside linebacker. He's only been here about a week, but the Chargers might have little other choice than to put his feet to the fire.
Their final inside linebacker, rookie Andrew Gachkar, was a seventh-round pick and seems to be a ways from contributing.
Against some other teams, all this upheaval in the middle would be met with a shrug. But when trying to stop the Vikings' running game, which mostly answers to Adrian Peterson, such shortcomings are a huge red flag for the Chargers.
The Chargers don't have a lot of blemishes, but their run defense might be the biggest one. Much will be learned about the Chargers' chances moving forward in how they react to the hard-running Peterson.
With the top four rushing teams from last year to follow, the Chargers' run defense is going to be tested weekly. And among the stiffest tests comes right out of the gate on Sunday.
SERIES HISTORY: 11th regular-season meeting. The Chargers and Vikings are tied in the series, 5-5. The teams have alternated victories leading up to Sunday's season-opener. The Vikings prevailed in their last meeting, at Minnesota, 35-17, in 2007. The Chargers claimed the last game at their venue, winning 42-28 in 2003. The Chargers own the seventh-highest winning percentage on opening days at 29-22 (.569). That is just lower than the Vikings at 28-21-1 (.570) All-time the Chargers are 14-7 (.667) when opening at home.
"The younger guys have grown up quickly," Cesaire said. "Vaughn and Cam have grown by leaps and bounds and Corey has picked up everything extremely fast. Right now we're headed in the right direction and we're doing the things we need to do to be successful."
"I think it's a great environment," Diggs said. "The players here understand winning, the coaches understand winning and I'm here to win and help the team. I think I'm in the right place to do that."
"That would be something you would have to evaluate (in game)," Turner said. "But I have a lot of confidence in how he plays, how he approaches it."
"It's as close a group as there is anywhere that I've been," Turner said of his defensive linemen. "That was the hard part with releasing (Nwagbuo), because we have a great respect for what he's done. I like the makeup of the group and I believe the defensive line will be a strength of our team."
"I was fortunate enough to get drafted here and potentially I'm going to be able to end my career here," Scifres said. "It's a great franchise and I couldn't ask for a better place to potentially end my career."
BY THE NUMBERS: 100 -- Number of regular-season victories, against 105 losses, for coach Norv Turner if the Chargers win Sunday's opener.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The key for us on offense is protecting the ball. We turned it over way too many times last year." -- QB Philip Rivers, when asked how his unit can get better after surrendering the football 29 times in 2010 (16 fumbles, 13 interceptions).