INGLWOOD, Calif. – Vikings midfielder Eric Kendricks set the tone for the defense at the start of the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday afternoon.
His bag in the first defensive series of the game directly informed the Chargers that the Vikings may not have been able to handle the defenses, but they had no shortage of motivation.
Later in the first half, Kendricks added an interception that resulted in a touchdown, and in the second half, the Vikings got back together and took a 27-20 win at SoFi Stadium.
The victory ended a two-losing streak in which the Vikings lost seven points in total.
“The interception of Kendrix was a big deal,” said Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer. “I thought it was a damn good deal and the bag he got early in the game was big too because they got out of the way for the rest of the day.”
Minnesota’s defense lacked five players at the start: defender Michael Pearce, midfielder Anthony Barr, defender Daniel Hunter and defenders Harrison Smith and Patrick Peterson.
“The next person,” Kendricks said. “Obviously some of these guys are real footballers, but at the same time we have guys who really want the opportunity. You never know when it will happen in this league. We are preparing for victory, and these are also really smart guys, and they are ready for it. ”
Camryn Bynum started his second straight game in strong safety, and the Southern California native landed a key bag on San Diego’s third and fourth 14-yard lines early in the second quarter.
The Vikings took over the next possession and moved down the field, finally going 20-17 ahead on a 2-yard touchdown reception on Tyler Conklin’s tight end, his second TD in the game.
“We need people who will support us and demonstrate their abilities in this situation,” said Kendricks. “It’s great that he was able to play well for us in the last two games.”
Kendrix’s second interception of the season and his fifth in the past two seasons came at a pivotal moment in the game.
The Vikings were leading 6: 3 after an exchange with the Chargers.
Herbert was looking for Keenan Allen’s long-range receiver at the exit, but Kendricks turned his head in time and the ball was in his hands.
“I saw (Allen) bend and decided that if I kind of accelerated him, I would have the opportunity not only to play the person who was walking from below, but also kind of cover along the route he was running,” – Kendricks. said. “So I kind of hurried and it worked. I saw the ball quite late and got out of there. ”