Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley basically handed a win to the Minnesota Vikings on a silver platter on Sunday. But, for whatever reason, the Vikings failed to get the job done and, instead, they fell to 0-3 this season after a 28-24 defeat by the Chargers this weekend.
This is now the sixth time Minnesota has begun a season with an 0-3 record and the first time it has happened since the 2020 campaign. In the history of their franchise, the Vikings have never made the playoffs after beginning their schedule with three straight losses.
What made this loss hurt more than the first two this season was the fact that Staley and Los Angeles were basically begging Minnesota to leave the field with a victory.
With the Chargers leading by four points in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Staley elected to go for it on 4th-and-1 from his team's own 24-yard line. Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles wasn't able to gain the first down, and the Vikings were given a golden opportunity to walk out of U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday with their first win of the season.
Instead, the football gods struck again, and Minnesota fell to 0-3 after Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was picked off in the end zone by Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray.
Numbers-wise, Cousins had himself another great game, throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings also finally found success running the ball for the first time this season, finishing Sunday with a total of 130 yards on the ground.
In the end, just like their first two games of the season, turnovers wound up making the biggest difference in Minnesota getting a win or a loss. The Vikings turned the ball over twice, compared to Los Angeles, who only turned the ball over once.
Now at 0-3, Minnesota really needs to take a step back and figure out what they want to accomplish this season. Do they want to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs and hope they can make it past their first matchup, or should they begin the process of rebuilding a franchise that has been treading water for the past decade?