The Minnesota Vikings host the LA Chargers in Week 3 in what should be a very high-scoring game full of lunacy. Both teams are known for finding new ways to lose games while also having great offenses with terrible defenses.
Both teams are dealing with injuries as well. While the Chargers have to handle a bleak future with Austin Ekeler and former Viking Eric Kendricks, the Vikings have been dealing with an array of offensive line issues that have made Kirk Cousins' life even harder.
That prompted the team to make a move that fans were already anticipating. Minnesota signed veteran guard Dalton Risner to a one-year contract with the hopes that he could help shore up some of the team's issues at the guard position.
Whether it was intentional or not, Minnesota executed this signing with perfect timing as Risner has a lot of experience against the Chargers as a former member of the Denver Broncos. Not only is Risner familiar with the Bolts, but he has played quite well against his former division rival.
Vikings may have to start Dalton Risner because of his success against the Chargers
Risner has not been great at run blocking (that has long been his biggest weakness) and the Chargers have taken advantage of that in the past to mask a bad run defense. Don't expect Alexander Mattison to have a massive game if Risner does play and he has to run behind him.
In the passing game Risner has been great. Risner's career has been up and down (there is a reason why he was still available, after all) but his numbers against the Chargers have consistently been great. According to Pro Football Focus, this is how many pressures Risner has allowed in each of his recent matchups against LA:
- Week 6, 2022: 2 (97.1% pass-block efficiency)
- Week 17, 2021: 0 (100% pass-block efficiency, but only four snaps)
- Week 12, 2021: 0 (100% pass-block efficiency, but only nine snaps)
- Week 16, 2020: 1 (99% pass-block efficiency)
- Week 8, 2020: 2 (97.7% pass-block efficiency)
- Week 13, 2019: 1 (98.1% pass-block efficiency)
- Week 5, 2019: 0 (100% pass-block efficiency)
The two games in 2021 had very small sample sizes so they cannot be taken too seriously but it is clear that Risner has success against the Bolts. Risner has allowed only six quarterback pressures in 208 pass-blocking snaps against the Chargers.
The one good thing about LA's defense after two weeks is the pass rush. If Risner can help neutralize that pass rush in Week 3 then the Vikings are going to have an even easier day against this struggling Chargers offense.