With another matchup coming against an AFC opponent that we rarely see, it’s time to delve into the history between the Minnesota Vikings and their opponent for this week. On Sunday, the Vikings will face the Los Angeles Chargers out on the West Coast, and this will be the first time they face them as the Los Angeles Chargers. All of the previous matchups between these two teams came when the Chargers were located in San Diego.
These teams have only met 12 times in the past, and the winner of Sunday’s game will take the lead in the all-time, head-to-head series. If the Vikings win, they’ll accomplish something that neither team has done in the history of this series.
Let’s take a look at all the facts and figures, brought to you by the good folks from Pro Football Reference.
Total regular season games between the Vikings and Chargers: 12
All-time record: Tied, 6-6
Total Vikings points scored, head-to-head: 279 (23.2 points/game)
Total Chargers points scored, head-to-head: 300 (25 points/game)
Longest Vikings’ winning streak vs Chargers: 1 game (six different times)
Longest Chargers’ winning streak vs Vikings: 1 game (six different times)
Most recent Vikings road win in series: 11 October 1981 (final score 33-31)
Most recent Chargers home win in series: 11 September 2011 (final score 24-17)
Biggest Vikings road win in series: 2 points, 11 October 1981 (final score 33-31)
Biggest Chargers home win in series: 16 points, 5 December 1971 (final score 30-14, first game between the two teams)
Current streak: Vikings, 1 win
In the entire history of this series, neither of these teams have been able to put together consecutive victories over the other. They’ve alternated wins and losses since the Chargers won the first game between these two teams back in 1971. Of the 12 matchups between these two teams, only four have been played on the West Coast, and the Vikings were just 1-3 in those games.
The last time these two teams got together was at TCF Bank Stadium back in 2015. It was Week 3, and the Vikings were looking for a second straight win after losing their opener in San Francisco. The Vikings took a 10-7 lead into halftime, and then managed to keep the Chargers off the board for almost the entire second half. In the third and fourth quarters, they put up 21 unanswered points, with the final score coming from this memorable moment.
That 91-yard pick-six for Chad Greenway gave the Vikings a big 31-7 lead. The Chargers did manage a touchdown with less than a minute left, but that was hardly enough to dampen the Vikings’ 31-14 victory.
The last time these two teams got together in San Diego was to kick off the 2011 season. Things got off to a pretty great start, with Percy Harvin taking the opening kickoff back 103 yards for a touchdown. The rest of the game. . .not as good. The Vikings did manage to take a 17-7 lead into halftime, but did next to nothing offensively in the second half, thanks to Donovan McNabb putting up a blistering 39. . .yes, thirty-nine. . .yards passing on the afternoon. The Chargers put up 17 unanswered points in the second half, including two of Mike Tolbert’s three touchdowns, and got the Vikings’ disastrous 2011 season off to a rough start with a 24-17 victory.
The Vikings’ lone road victory against the Chargers came nearly 40 years ago, as we have to go back to 1981. Bud Grant led his 3-2 Vikings into Jack Murphy Stadium to take on Don Coryell and his 4-1 Chargers. Things were all square at halftime, 14-14, thanks to two Tommy Kramer touchdown passes. Each team put up 10 points in the third quarter, making it 24-24 going into the fourth. The Chargers took the lead on Chuck Muncie’s second touchdown run of the day to make it 31-24, and Kramer’s fourth touchdown pass of the afternoon. . .a 43-yarder to Terry LeCount. . .looked as though it would even things up again. However, the extra point was not successful, leaving the Vikings trailing, 31-30. In the end, Rick Danmeier connected on a 38-yard field goal late to give the Vikings a 33-31 win. Kramer finished the day with 444 passing yards, which is the fifth-highest single-game total in team history.
That’s a brief look back at the history between the Vikings and the Chargers as we get closer to this weekend’s game in San Di. . .er, Los Angeles. Hopefully the Vikings can break the pattern of teams being unable to get consecutive wins in this series on Sunday.