Quarterback Kelly Holcomb was in uniform Sunday, one week after suffering a neck injury serious enough that he was left numb for several seconds in a 23-16 loss to Philadelphia.
Holcomb was inactive as the Vikings' No. 3 quarterback, but he was eligible to play if both Tarvaris Jackson and Bollinger were injured. The decision seemed minor until Jackson left Sunday's game because of a concussion and was replaced by Bollinger.
Holcomb said he was an emergency quarterback in the truest sense of the word. As he spoke Sunday, Holcomb could barely twist his head toward a questioner.
"I'm not sure what would have happened [if Bollinger had been forced out]," Holcomb said. "I can't take a hit at this point. I know that. I probably would have been out there doing handoffs and that's it."
Told you so
Not even the Vikings could have predicted the magnitude of Peterson's first eight games in the NFL.
"Who could know that?" coach Brad Childress said. "But suffice it to say, I think his shoulder is going to be OK."
Indeed, Peterson fractured his collarbone last season while playing for Oklahoma and then reinjured it Jan. 1 in the Fiesta Bowl. Several NFL teams were concerned he would not be ready to play when the regular season began. Rick Spielman, Vikings vice president of player personnel, even suggested in a radio interview that Peterson needed surgery.
Ultimately, the injury healed naturally, although Peterson wears protective padding over the area.
With Peterson starting at tailback and Wade nursing his knee injury, the Vikings turned to a pair of new return specialists. Allison replaced Peterson on kickoffs, and Mewelde Moore made his 2007 debut as a punt returner.
Allison returned the Chargers' first kickoff 62 yards, utilizing a fake pass to Peterson, and managed 18 yards on his other return.
Moore set up Peterson's third touchdown with a 42-yard punt return in the fourth quarter.
Gates a virtual no-show
It seemed like the perfect mismatch: Chargers All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates and the Vikings' 32nd-ranked pass defense.
Gates, however, was held to one catch for 10 yards and got only a few other passes thrown his way.
"The Vikings did a good job doing a variety of things," Gates said. "They did some quick jams, and showed us a lot of different looks. They just had us off-balance the whole game."