The San Diego Chargers entered Sunday’s game ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in scoring, total offense and passing. The Vikings made them look pedestrian with a punishing performance that showed what Mike Zimmer’s defense is capable of in a 31-14 rout at TCF Bank Stadium.
Zimmer brought consistent pressure to disrupt Philip Rivers’ timing and never allow San Diego’s offense to feel comfortable or establish a rhythm. The Chargers like to use three- and four-wide receiver sets, but they couldn’t handle the Vikings pass rush and blitz packages.
Chad Greenway’s 91-yard interception return will serve as the highlight of the performance, but a play in the third quarter summed up the Vikings’ effort. Linebacker Anthony Barr had a running start on a blitz, went untouched through the middle of the line and drilled Rivers after his throw. The hit staggered Rivers, forcing the Chargers to use a timeout so he could gather himself.
It was that kind of day for Rivers and for the Vikings defense. The Vikings swarmed Rivers and forced him to get the ball out of his hands quickly all game to avoid the rush.
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