San Diego Chargers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Date and Time: Sunday, August 28, 2016, 1 p.m. ET
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Week 3 Preseason NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Vikings -4, O/U 41.5
Chargers vs. Vikings TV Coverage: FOX
After his team was ravaged with injuries last season and won just four games, San Diego gave head coach Mike McCoy a one-year extension to turn things around. When he had a relatively healthy roster, McCoy directed the club to back-to-back 9-7 seasons and qualified for the playoffs in 2013. So it’s not like he forgot how to coach, and the organization realized that.
The Chargers are still without top draft pick Joey Bosa as he and the team remain locked in a contract dispute. The third overall pick in this year’s draft wasn’t needed last week when San Diego stymied Arizona. However, the Chargers weren’t so lucky in the preseason opener as they surrendered 288 yards rushing and 437 total to the Tennessee Titans. Which defense are we going to see this week?
When it comes to preseason success, nobody is better than Minnesota’s coach Mike Zimmer. The Vikings improved to 2-0 this year and 10-1 overall in exhibition games under their third-year leader. The Vikes have also been good to their backers going 9-2 ATS in that span. Zimmer has yet to lose the all-important Week 3 matchup.
Matchup To Watch
If you want to keep a secret, you can trust Mike Zimmer won’t say a word to anyone. The Vikings coach has been silent regarding his starting quarterback, leaving the scribes to come up with their own theories regarding Teddy Bridgewater’s unexpected absence from last week’s game. An injury to Bridgewater’s throwing shoulder was first reported by ESPN.com and Zimmer didn’t confirm or deny the injury. Bridgewater was in pads during the Vikings’ weekend practices but didn’t throw any passes. He resumed short tossing earlier this week.
Bridgewater played in the preseason opener, tossing a 49-yard touchdown pass on the second of his two series and completing 6 of 7 passes for 92 yards. When the injury occurred is still up for debate, but Zimmer’s non-denial is evidence that the report isn’t off-base. Bridgewater’s status for Sunday’s game is up in the air and Zimmer doesn’t think the team will suffer if the starting quarterback doesn’t take snaps before the regular season.
Veteran backup Shaun Hill started last week’s game in Seattle and played the first half. He completed 10 of 17 pass attempts for 129 yards and led the team on its only touchdown drive. Hill was limited on throws in practice over the weekend and the Vikings signed Brad Sorenson for an extra arm in practice.
The Vikings’ unsettled quarterback situation could play right into the hands of San Diego’s defense. The Chargers throttled Arizona last week, holding the Cards to 209 total yards and turning a pair of first half interceptions into 10 points. Brandon Flowers picked off Carson Palmer on the second drive and returned it for a touchdown.
Chargers vs. Vikings Free Picks
Minnesota’s preseason success under Zimmer can’t be overlooked and because of it, the Vikings were at -4 on the opening line. It’s hard to say how much of a home field advantage the Vikes will have in this one since the Chargers will be playing at the new stadium for the first time as well, but you can bet the fans will be in full force to back the home team.
Given the extended time between games, the Vikings should have Bridgewater or Hill under center. If not, the hosts will be in trouble if they have to go with Joel Stave. Sorensen just recently joined the club and last year’s primary No. 3 quarterback Taylor Heinicke is freshly removed from a walking boot on his foot, so the position is rather fluid at this point. But somehow the Vikings win games. They’ll see plenty of Philip Rivers, but the defense is what carries Minnesota, and it’ll carry them to a win and cover on the odds at BookMaker.eu.
Chargers vs. Vikings Week 3 Preseason ATS Pick: Vikings -4 at BookMaker.eu
Chargers vs. Vikings Score Prediction: Vikings 20, Chargers 13