PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus – The only positive thing that could be said of QB Donovan McNabb is he didn't turn the ball over, at least after his interception on the game's opening snap. But he admitted his 39 yards passing on 7-of-15 passing was "embarrassing" and completing only one pass in the second half is unacceptable. The offensive line broke down at key times and receivers struggled to get open, too, leaving major questions for coordinator Bill Musgrave to answer this week.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B – RB Adrian Peterson's 46-yard burst made the numbers look better than they were. The Vikings averaged 6.1 yards on 26 carries, but only 3.4 yards on 10 carries in the second half. Blocking was sound overall. It's just tough to pick up chunks on the ground without an air threat to keep defenses from loading the box.
PASS DEFENSE: C – DEs Brian Robison and Jared Allen combined for a sack, an unofficial nine pressures and pieces of two interceptions – one by Allen on a zone drop and another by CB Antoine Winfield redirected by Robison's hit on Chargers QB Philip Rivers. But the Tampa-2 scheme relies on players to rally to the ball and tackle soundly, two things the Vikings failed to do as Rivers completed a remarkable 26 passes to backs and tight ends.
RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus – San Diego averaged only 2.9 yards on 27 carries, even though missed tackles extended more than a few runs, including Ryan Mathews' 21-yarder. The remodeled front seven didn't seem to miss departed NT Pat Williams, and new WLB Erin Henderson got in on nine tackles (six solo).
SPECIAL TEAMS: A – What more could the Vikings ask for than Percy Harvin's 103-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff? The Chargers did no damage in the return game, Chris Kluwe's six punts netted 41.8 yards and Ryan Longwell was good on two extra points and a 33-yard field goal.
COACHING: C-minus – The defensive game plan probably would have worked if not for the missed tackles. The "bounce" play on the opening kickoff was the perfect call. The offense couldn't take advantage of San Diego's commitment to stopping the run and an inability to adjust when the passing game went down the tubes ultimately was the difference.
Grading the game: Chargers
Viking Update Top Stories
Cowboys blitzed and bruised BradfordThe Minnesota Vikings wanted to take their shots deep and did. But Sam Bradford also took his shots to the body from a blitz-heavy Cowboys defense. The numbers and reaction inside.
Viking Update1:15 PM
Vikings-Cowboys most-watched TNF game everThe Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys game was the most-watched Thursday Night Football game ever.
Viking Update12:49 PM
Counting snaps: DL rotation against big OLThe Minnesota Vikings used a healthy rotation of defensive linemen Thursday night in an attempt to beat what is widely considered the best offensive line in the NFL.
Viking Update3:13 AM
WATCH: Vikings vs. Cowboys highlightsHighlights and lowlights from the Minnesota Vikings' 17-15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night.
Viking Update12:33 AM