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With eight losses on the year by only one possession, the Los Angeles Chargers may feel like 2019 was a year that got crashed by bad fortune. But after a 45-10 beatdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road, they’re not planning on exiting the season quietly.

The ‘Bolt came back’ last Sunday in Jacksonville. In a game that Vegas gave a three-point nod to Los Angeles over Jacksonville, the Chargers won by 35 and exploded for 525 total yards, including 195 on the ground.

No doubt starting Jags’ QB Gardner Minshew was unpleasantly surprised on the blowout having taken the starting job from the highly paid Nick Foles, but with little regard for the remaining fans of Jacksonville, Chargers’ incumbent quarterback Philip Rivers celebrated his 39th birthday with 314 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a 154.4 passer rating in the afternoon air of Northern Florida.

  ———  *Editor’s Note: This article comes from ‘The V61’ (vikings61.com) a new website devoted to news, analysis, and history of the Minnesota Vikings! Bookmark The V61 (friend and partner of Vikings Territory and Purple PTSD) and follow them on Twitter and Facebook here!     ———–

What this means for the Minnesota Vikings is that it won’t be an easy road to victory on Sunday on Carson, California. It also means that Chargers’ head coach Anthony Lynn and his team are intent on ending this season at .500 after a series of close contests that didn’t go their way.

.500 means three more wins, with one of them being over the Vikings before the lean collection of L. A. fans–and all those who still travel north from San Diego to watch their sadly departed Chargers.

Lions And Packers And Bears

In Week 2, the Chargers lost 13-10 to the Detroit Lions, in Week 8 they nicked the Bears 17-16 in Soldier Field. Then, just seven days later, they hosted the then 7-1 Green Bay Packers and served them a 26-11 whipping that made cream cheese out of a hundred hats in the StubHub Center stands.

That brought their record to 4-5 and set up what fans have been accustomed to as a second-half run to respectability and a spot in the AFC playoff tournament.

But then three consecutive losses, two of which came against Oakland and Denver, brought the usual plans to a halt. The Chargers were done for 2019 and the only questions that remained after such a disappointing year were the longevity of QB Philip Rivers and HC Anthony Lynn.

That chances that both men gear up to make the Vikings an example of their remaining talent and virility are very good this Sunday. Certainly, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer knows that, but it’s imperative that his football team knows it too.

Blown Circuitry

Nobody throws the ball more than the Chargers, but this year they’ve finally discovered a one-two punch in a running back stable that features big back Melvin Gordon and a tackle-breaking machine named Austin Ekeler. WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both on the edge of 1000 yards receiving and Hunter Henry is a solid threat at tight end.

The Chargers even have a top ten defense–number four in the NFL in yards allowed. Defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram may both be headed to the Pro Bowl.

So why is this team 5-8? I really don’t know, but I can guess. They don’t have any fans and they don’t have much emotion driving them besides Philip Rivers on the sidelines shouting at some player, coach or ref who’s committed a crucial game mistake.

Most of their home games are half-filled with the opposition’s fans, something that’s been wearing on the players of the team. At one point in a game in October, the Chargers’ brass decided to try and tease the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans with their own theme music–before changing it abruptly to another song.

Not only did the stunt not work (L.A. was down 24-10 at the time) it really got under the skin of several Charger players, including offensive lineman Forrest Lampwho said:

“We’re used to not having any fans here. It does suck, though, when they’re playing their music in the fourth quarter. We’re the ones at home. I don’t know who’s in charge of that but they probably should be fired.”

The chance that anyone got fired is slim. It was Roger Goodell that wanted the Chargers–and the Rams–to move to Los Angeles after the city proved it wasn’t really interested in a pro football team, and he’s sitting in a big house on a hill thinking of his next move towards revenue streams–like 17 game seasons or NFL football being played in China.

One Given Sunday

That leaves the pride of a still-viable pro squad of players that will suit up in powder blue and white and put their team talents to the test against their counterparts in purple-and-gold. They also have their jobs and futures to play for, and the Minnesota Vikings need to know that they’ll get their best game.

As for the Vikings, a loss in California, coupled with a win by another Los Angeles team, the Rams (in Dallas), puts Minnesota out of the playoff picture after Week 15--although the Rams would have to play at San Francisco the following Sunday while the Vikings hosted Green Bay.

Let’s make this simple, fellows. Look no further than a game in sunny California coming up to stay on the golden path. Understand that your opponent is playing with no pressure but a certain passion to win, something that often boosts a team’s performance.

And remember, the Chargers would love to have a big win over Minnesota–to pair with the one they have over Green Bay–to sweeten the sour memory of their disappointing 2019 season.

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mikegreitzer
Writer, Editor, The V61 (vikings61.com) Can't watch crucial Viking field goals. Have occasional nightmares that I'll be six feet under before the Lombardi Trophy comes North.

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