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WEEK 9, GAME 8

> Line: Chargers by 7

> Series: Chargers lead 5-4

> Last: Chargers 42, Vikings 28

(Nov. 9, 2003)

Gameday: Vikings vs. San Diego

  • Article by: Kevin Seifert
  • Star Tribune
  • November 3, 2007 - 2:33 PM

THE BIG THREE MATCHUPS TO WATCH FOR

1. Tarvaris Jackson: Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson vs. 10-fingered opponents everywhere. Today isn't an ideal return date for Jackson, who will continue his NFL education with nine healthy digits and one fractured right index finger. We like Jackson, but he was completing 45.9 percent of his passes before losing some control of his fastball. He'll face a San Diego pass rush led by All-Pro LB Shawne Merriman and could be without leading WR Bobby Wade. Could be a tough day.

2. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Vikings run defense: San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson vs. General Stubborness. The All-Pro running back is averaging about 20 carries per game this season, but will that number change against the Vikings' No. 2-ranked run defense? Kansas City tried stuffing RB Larry Johnson down the Vikings' throat Sept. 23, only to realize eventually that they could win with their passing game. Tomlinson might get his yards regardless, but how long will the Chargers wait to begin the air assault? One fun fact: None of Tomlinson's six rushing touchdowns has come on the road.

3. Vikings offense vs. 3-4 defense: Vikings vs. the 3-4. Not many teams run this defense any more, but maybe more should join the Chargers and convert. The Vikings are 0-3 over the past 1½ seasons against it, losing last year to New England the N.Y. Jets and last month to Dallas. It's not necessarily a more difficult defense to move the ball against. It's just different.

STAT TO WATCH

Being home suits Jackson

Most Vikings fans seem to have made up their minds on Jackson, but amazingly this is only his second home start of the season. By far, his worst three outings (out of four) have come on the road. Also, it's only fair to note the Vikings are 2-2 in his starts and 0-3 without him. Go figure.

Kevin Seifert • kseifert@startribune.com

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