Vikings vs. Chargers Predictions: Media Predicts Close Game
The Vikings are back on the west coast this week after a stress-free victory at home. Needing a win to guarantee they maintain their edge on the final NFC wild-card spot, the Vikings will face a Chargers team that is just 5-8 on the season but has talent at seemingly every position.
All eight of the Chargers' losses have come by a single score, and they're coming off a 45-point offensive outburst in Jacksonville. This will be no easy task for the Vikings, who are just 3-4 on the road this season.
Here's what the national media expects to happen.
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Chargers 29, Vikings 28
"This feels like a dangerous spot for all the Vikings fans who will surely make the trip to Carson on Sunday. Minnesota hasn't put together a complete game since the Week 10 win in Dallas. It's not Kirk Cousins' fault, but the Vikings are 0-4 against teams currently owning winning records and the offense desperately needs those positive reports about Adam Thielen's hamstring to be true. The Chargers are as healthy as they've been all year and are coming off a 40-burger. That probably means they'll play well before losing in the most painful way possible, but I'm picking them to win anyway because my picks this week are too boring."
Courtney Cronin, ESPN Vikings Reporter: Vikings 30, Chargers 24
"Bold prediction: Minnesota receiver Adam Thielen delivers a statement performance in his first game in nearly two months, recording two touchdowns in L.A. The Chargers have one of the league's best pass defenses, but this unit is going to sell out to stop Cook, thus leaving Thielen able to win his one-on-one matchups."
Eric D. Williams, ESPN Chargers Reporter: Vikings 28, Chargers 26
"What to watch for: The Chargers face the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL in Dalvin Cook (1,108) on Sunday. Defensively, they have held teams to 98 rushing yards per game since Week 8, seventh best in the NFL. The Chargers' ability to slow down Cook should determine who wins this game."
Tadd Haislop, Sporting News: Vikings 23, Chargers 21
"The Chargers ended their streak of heartbreaking losses in style with a blowout win in Jacksonville last week. That development won't save their season, but it might impact how they approach this home game against the Vikings. LA comes in feeling good about itself and motivated to play spoiler against a Minnesota team clinging to its wild-card spot in the NFC. Powered by Dalvin Cook and the running game, though, the Vikings should produce just enough points to survive."
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Chargers 23, Vikings 20
"The Chargers showed some life last week against the Jaguars, but this is a big step up in competition. Even so, I think the Chargers will play well in this one. They are better than the team's record. Look for Philip Rivers to have success against the Vikings secondary and the Los Angeles pass rush will get after Kirk Cousins. Upset special."
Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports: Chargers 27, Vikings 24
"This is definitely the kind of game the Vikings would lose – on the road, after a sneakily ugly divisional win, against an overlooked AFC opponent, with the Packers looming on the horizon. Philip Rivers should just dump off to Austin Ekeler all day long."
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Vikings 30, Chargers 24
"This is a dangerous game for the Vikings, one with just enough playoff implications that Kirk Cousins could blow it."
Bleacher Report: Chargers 26, Vikings 24
"Minnesota's secondary is a mess, and Philip Rivers has the weapons to take advantage of that. The Chargers run defense has also been lights-out now that they're healthier on that side of the ball. That could enable them to limit Dalvin Cook and use Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III to dial up pressure against Kirk Cousins. Minnesota could be walking into a trap against a Bolts team that is suddenly healthy and clearly not giving up. The Chargers are fresh off a 45-10 road victory over the Jaguars. They're much better than their record might suggest, especially now that they have guys like Derwin James, Adrian Phillips, Brandon Mebane Ingram, Russell Okung and Hunter Henry healthy."
Video: Kirk Cousins on the Chargers defense, Philip Rivers