The Chargers finally managed to finish a game in 2023 and that led to their first win of the new campaign. At 1-2, they’ll face the Raiders at home in Week Four with the chance to sit at .500 when they enter their early bye.
The offense led the way once again. Justin Herbert threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns with Keenan Allen catching 18 passes for 215 yards. He also threw a 49-yard touchdown to Mike Williams.
Unsurprisingly, both player sit atop the Chargers’ offensive game grades from Pro Football Focus. Let’s go ahead and dive into the best and worst grades for the Chargers from their suspenseful road win over the Vikings.
Best (min. 20 snaps played)
WR Keenan Allen - 77.7
QB Justin Herbert - 76.8
WR Mike Williams - 73.3
OG Zion Johnson - 72.4
OT Rashawn Slater - 71.8
A 77.7 probably seems low for Allen after the game he just had. Same thing goes for Herbert who completed 40-of-47 passes. This is simply one of those moments I just have to shake my head and admit I don’t know what they’re looking at if this was the grade given following a performance of that magnitude.
The left side of the offensive line was the best on Sunday morning with Johnson and Slater combining to protect Herbert from the likes of Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum.
RB Joshua Kelley - 46.7
C Corey Linsley - 53.9
TE Donald Parham - 56.8
WR Joshua Palmer - 56.9
OT Trey Pipkins - 57.3
Two games without Austin Ekeler, two games where the Chargers rushing attack fell flat. On Sunday against the Vikings, it was dang near non-existent. Herbert tied Joshua Kelley with 12 rushing yards to lead the team against a porous run defense. Kelley’s overall grade was hurt most by allowing a team-high four pressures in pass protection.
This was an off performance for Linsley who allowed three pressures on the day. It was the most among Chargers offensive lineman and put his season total to six through three games. For context on just how off this is by Linsley’s standards, he allowed seven total pressures all of last season. At the same time, the Vikings blitzed the Chargers 40 times on Sunday. I guarantee that insane clip is a big reason why.
Asante Samuel Jr. - 85.8
S Alohi Giman - 85.6
LB Nick Niemann - 73.1
EDGE Khalil Mack - 70.1
EDGE Joey Bosa - 66.4
The Chargers secondary was scorched by the Vikings and Justin Jefferson but that didn’t stop PFF from grading Samuel as the team’s top defender on Sunday. Gilman, who forced an early fumble, was second on the team.
Niemann notched his second start in the NFL and came out near the top this week. His best play came on the final snap of the game when he helped break up the pass to TJ Hockenson which ultimately landed in the arms of Kenneth Murray to deal the win. Niemann had the team’s top grade in run defense (73.3), pass rush (71.6), and the second best in tackling (81.3).
Mack finished second on the team with five pressures while Bosa notched his third sack of the season while playing only 28 snaps.
EDGE Chris Rumph II - 37.8
DT Morgan Fox - 38.0
LB Kenneth Murray - 41.4
DT Austin Johnson - 42.5
DT Nick Williams - 44.7
The interior of the defensive line was gutted in this game by the Vikings’ stable of backs. Alexander Mattison fell short of 100 yards but was a menace early on. Fox, Johnson, and Williams all posted run defense grades below 50.0 with Fox falling short of 40.0.
Despite making what could be considered the play of the game, Murray struggled to corral the run game of the Vikings. His run defense grade of 29.3 and tackling grade of 29.8 were two of the worst on the team. After three games, Murray is the second-worst graded linebacker in the NFL with a minimum of 100 snaps played.