The game was honestly a roller coaster from the Vikings’ first drive ending in their seventh lost fumble of the season all the way to that final play.
There were some bright spots, including wide receiver Justin Jefferson who was one yard short of being the first wide receiver ever to gain 150 receiving yards in the first three games of the season.
Looking at the entire game, there were plenty of studs and even more duds from the Vikings week three loss.
Stud: Justin Jefferson
The Vikings didn’t make Justin Jefferson enough of a priority going into Sunday. He didn’t receive a single target until there was just 9:30 left in the second quarter, but caught back-to-back passes for 55 yards to get the Vikings into the red zone. He was the same talented machine you expect every week, but the gameplan didn’t focus on him enough, finishing
Dud: Kirk Cousins
It’s not so much that Kirk Cousins was bad, but he didn’t play really well either. Throughout the game, his accuracy and ball placement were just a tad off. Receivers were having to slow down, which allowed the defenders to catch back up to the ball with the most notable being the throw to K.J. Osborn in the end zone. Pair that with his internal clock not working all game and you have an unfortunate game for the Vikings.
At the end of the game, Cousins did put them in position to win, but his poor clock management at the end of the game will be one of the biggest talking points coming out of this.
Stud: Ivan Pace Jr.
Ivan Pace Jr. continues to earn playing time at linebacker and for good reason. He is relentless in attacking the football and it is showing up in all phases on defense. Pace had a big stop on the goal line and has generated pressure on Justin Herbert. With this scheme being one that blitzes a lot, Pace fits in like a glove.
Dud: Akayleb Evans
Akayleb Evans is a good cornerback, but his flaws are pretty simple: he can’t flip his hips quickly and can get caught flat-footed in zone. He got caught badly at the end the first half by Josh Palmer that got the Chargers inside the 10 yard line with a 29 yard pass. Evans was also charged with a pass interference on the play. Not something you want to see, especially with teams having film on him and looked to take advantage of it moving forward.
Just to rub salt in the wound, Evans had an interception in his hands but it bounced out and became a long touchdown pass. Just unfortunate luck once again for the Vikings.
Dud: Alexander Mattison
Despite having a few double-digit yardage runs, Alexander Mattison struggled throughout the game. He had the ball stripped from him twice but was luckily called down both times. Pair that with his drop in the red zone and his ball security in general is not something you want to live with. The Vikings did just acquire Cam Akers from the Los Angeles Rams and he might end up getting more run once he gets into the game.
Dud: Clock management
Make no mistake, there wasn’t one single thing that cost the Vikings this game against the Chargers. The one major talking point coming out of the game is going to be the poor clock management. At the end of the game, Cousins completed a fourth-down pass with about 35 seconds left but they didn’t snap the ball again until there was 12 seconds left. Allowing that much time to come off the clock is abysmal for the Vikings and shouldn’t happen with a veteran quarterback.