INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Eric Kendricks makes himself at home in the Chargers' arenas, and Sunday's 27-20 win in the spacious SoFi Stadium was no different as the Vikings linebacker spearheaded the shutdown of a potent Chargers offense.

The Vikings' shorthanded defense — down five Week 1 starters — grounded Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert, who couldn't connect downfield with star receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams until after halftime while being flustered by strong coverage and a pass rush.

Kendricks, the All-Pro middle linebacker, had his hands in both. He set the tone with a sack on Herbert's first pass play, and later made a diving interception while covering Allen. It was another impressive afternoon, two years after Kendricks forced a Chargers fumble and led the Vikings in tackles during a 39-10 victory in Carson, Calif.

"It's always special when I come to play in California," said Kendricks, the Fresno native who played at UCLA. "This is obviously my home. Shoot, I was raised — not raised in L.A., but I became a man out here in college at UCLA. It definitely has a special place in my heart, and every time I come back here, I've got to show out."

The Vikings needed Kendricks' best after a fifth opening-day starter, linebacker Anthony Barr, was ruled out before Sunday. They were already without defensive end Danielle Hunter, nose tackle Michael Pierce, cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Harrison Smith.

"We had a lot of players missing," coach Mike Zimmer said. "I was proud of the way the corners played."

Herbert was held under 200 passing yards — 195, to be exact — for just the third time in 24 NFL starts, struggling to find the time or room to connect downfield. Pressure derived from Zimmer's blitz designs particularly agitated Herbert on third downs, where the quarterback converted just one of five attempts while the Vikings jumped to a 13-10 lead at halftime.

Zimmer entered the game imploring cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland, Cameron Dantzler and Mackensie Alexander to be physical with Allen and Williams. They met the challenge, only going overboard twice when Breeland and Alexander were each flagged for interference.

"I really think the corners did a nice job of challenging these guys," Zimmer said. "These are two really good receivers, and the tight end's a good player, too. So, I thought we did a nice job. The interception by Kendricks was big-time."

On first down in the second quarter, Allen released from the slot and ran a deep over route to the other side of the field. Kendricks undercut Allen's path for the fingertip interception, showing off the linebacker's cover skills and smarts to make a calculated gamble.

"I was supposed to come off [Allen] a little earlier and kind of turn around the other way," said Kendricks, whose five interceptions since 2020 lead all NFL linebackers. "I saw him bending, and I decided that if I kind of speed-turn it, I'll have the opportunity to not only play the person who was coming underneath, but also kind of shelter that route."

Kendricks also got the first of six hits on Herbert, who was drilled on three consecutive pass plays in the third quarter, including a third-down sack by rookie safety Camryn Bynum, who is in the lineup for Smith.

The Vikings' replacement players did their best impressions of the sidelined starters in those moments.

"Obviously some of those guys are some real ballers," Kendricks said. "These are really smart guys that we're bringing in, as well, and they're ready for it. Their communication's on point out there. They're not rattled at all, and they like to fight."