There has been some buzz that the Vikings like young QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, but Rosenfels led the Vikings on their only touchdown drive of the night in the final minutes. He completed all six passes he threw for 51 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 141.7.
Rosenfels was one of the few highlights among the quarterbacks Friday night.
Starters Christian Ponder and Charlie Whitehurst had passer ratings of 52.9 and 58.1, respectively, and neither seemed to be able to maintain any kind of rhythm.
The Chargers finished the game with just 13 first downs and 202 total yards – including just 107 yards of offense in the first three quarters combined.
The two teams combined to convert just six of 27 third down attempts – the Vikings making good on 3 of 11 chances and San Diego converting just 3 of 16.
The Vikings got into the red zone four times, but came away with just 10 points on those four possessions. San Diego got into the red zone just once.
One of the highlights of the game was the play of punter Chris Kluwe. Not only did he average 50.4 yards on five punts, his net average, which factors in return yardage, was a spectacular 49.6 yards.
The replacement referees were kept busy throwing penalty flags. The two teams combined to get flagged 20 times, including 14 by San Diego – which had 11 penalties in the first half alone.
The Vikings had six sacks against the patchwork Chargers offensive line – two each from Jared Allen and Jasper Brinkley, and one each from Fred Evans and Nick Reed.
The Vikings effectively iced their own kicker at the end of the first quarter. With the game clock and the play clock almost completely in synch after a third-down completion came up short of the first down, Blair Walsh was lined up and ready to kick, but the Vikings let the clock run out. When the second quarter began three minutes later, Walsh missed the 45-yard field attempt wide left.
Walsh made a field goal Friday, giving him eight in the first three games. With one more next Thursday against Houston he will tie Ryan Longwell for third all-time with nine field goals in a preseason. He still trails Fred Cox, who kicked 12 field goals in 1972 and 10 in 1969, but in 1972 the Vikings played five preseason games and in 1969 they played six.
The referees were pretty hideous, leaving many to wonder what is holding up a resolution to the dispute between the league and its officials. A Lex Hillard fumble in the second quarter was so obvious, it was visible from the press box, which is quite a distance from the playing field. Yet, Chargers coach Norv Turner had to throw a challenge flag to get the call correctly ruled a fumble. On the Vikings' next drive, Turner had to throw the challenge flag again, this time to overturn what appeared (from a great distance) to be a clear interception that was confirmed by replay. What made the plays significant was that, despite winning both challenges, San Diego was left with just one challenge for the remainder of the game through no fault of its own.
Zack Bowman didn't help his own roster cause with a holding penalty on a huge kickoff return by Marcus Sherels in the first half. It negated a 52-yard return that would have put the Vikings offense on the Chargers 41-yard line. Instead, it pushed the Vikings back to their own 15-yard line.
A total of 18 players didn't suit up for San Diego, including quarterback Philip Rivers, running backs Ryan Mathews and Curtis Brinkley, wide receivers Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal, tight ends Antonio Gates and Dante Rosario, offensive linemen Nick Hardwick, Jared Gaither, Tyronne Green, Brandyn Dombrowski and Johnnie Troutman, defensive tackles Antonio Garay and Garrett Brown, linebacker Demorrio Williams, cornerbacks Shareece Wright and Marcus Gilchrist and safety Darrell Stuckey.
The Vikings had nine inactive players – RB Adrian Peterson, CB Chris Cook, TE John Carlson, S Mistral Raymond, G Geoff Schwartz, DT Letroy Guion, WR Kamar Jordan, FB Ryan D'Imperio and G Bridger Buche.
Former Vikings running back Ted Brown sounded the Gjallarhorn to bring the Vikings out on the field.
The announced attendance was 56, 521 – a figure that seemed about 10,000-15,000 off the from the actual attendance inside the Metrodome.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.