The story so far in this young NFL season concerning the Vikings has revolved around turnovers. That isn’t news.
What will be news is if the Vikings can come away from their week 3 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers and not give the ball away. With the way the Vikings have been playing otherwise the turnovers, that should mean a win.
So far this year, the Chargers have benefited from two takeaways.
One was their first offensive series of the year, which came after a Miami Dolphins fumble in the red zone. The Chargers then took the ball and marched 94 yards for a Touchdown.
The Chargers also took an interception away from the Dolphins later in the game, but punted the ball away after a 3-out. LA didn’t get any turnovers from their game against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday.
In 2022 the Chargers were one of the better teams at playing the turnover battle, ranking 6th in turnover differential at +5. The team finished with 24 takeaways to 19 giveaways.
Those ‘22 Chargers got just a few more interceptions (14) than fumbles (10), and were led in forced fumbles by OLB/EDGE Khalil Mack and S Derwin James, who both caused 2 apiece last year. Mack was also one of three Chargers to recover two fumbles as well.
Mack isn’t the star of the show in LA though, that honor goes to his EDGE counterpart Joey Bosa, who is currently questionable for Sunday’s matchup after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 1.
Bosa has 2 sacks this year, with the rest of the Chargers pass rush getting 3. That puts the Bolts pass rush tied for 14th (with your Vikings) so far this year in team sacks.
Bosa did play well against Tennessee last Sunday, registering a PFF grade of 81.1 in a limited 19-snap performance.
The status of Bosa should be carefully watched by Vikings fans hoping to not see another fumble or strip-sack.
As far as interceptions, the aforementioned James anchors a secondary of J.C. Jackson, Alohi James, and Asante Samuel Jr. that did not play well (with the exception of James) against the Dolphins and also didn’t stand out against the run-heavy Titians.
It’s no secret that the Chargers do not have a great pass defense, and that matchup should be ripe for the Kirk Cousins-Jefferson/Addison/Hockenson connection.
After the last couple weeks I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bad stroke of luck or bounce cause a lucky pick for the Bolts, but I don’t expect to see that unremarkable secondary out-skill one of the best receiving corps (and one of the better QB’s) in all of football for a takeaway.
And as an added bonus Cousins should have more time (especially if Bosa is unable to go for some reason) to scan the field and find an open receiver as the Bolts’ D-Line is definitely not what the Vikings just faced in Philadelphia.
I am also sure that Kevin O’Connell has been just as frustrated with the turnovers this year, and has likely been making extra sure that those concerns are addressed during the week.
If the Vikings offensive line (specifically Ed Ingram) can earn just a little bit of redemption with a solid performance on Sunday, it would make it that much easier to dream of a game without any damn fumbles, strip sacks, or interceptions.
You think the Vikings can get through 60 without another frustrating turnover?
I sure as hell hope so.
Edit: I goofed in an earlier version of this story. Khalil Mack was never a Viking. Apologies if any conclusion.