Chargers top Vikings 12-10 in penalty-filled game

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 25, 2012
From Christian Ponder's off-target throws for Minnesota to San Diego's depleted offense to a bunch of bungled calls by the replacement officials, this was a preseason game in every way. The Chargers at least went home happy with the way their defense is playing. The Vikings were reminded that their offense isn't ready yet for September. Nick Novak's 45-yard field goal as time expired gave the Chargers a 12-10 victory over the Vikings on Friday after 20 penalties, 13 punts and 11 sacks between the two teams. ''Probably even more so than an emotional lift for us, it's a deflator for the opposing offense,'' said outside linebacker Larry English, who had two of San Diego's five sacks. Well, the Vikings weren't that down. But they realized they weren't sharp. Their offensive possessions in the first half? Punt, punt, missed field goal, fumble, interception, punt, punt and, finally, a 29-yard field goal by Blair Walsh. ''I think we're a lot further along than we were last year, which is good. But we still have a ton of things to work on, obviously, after tonight,'' Ponder said. Nate Kaeding made field goals of 50 and 54 yards for the Chargers (No. 16 in the AP Pro32) and Novak, who filled in last season when Kaeding was hurt, kicked two of his own. Charlie Whitehurst started instead of Philip Rivers at quarterback for the Chargers, who had a scare in the third quarter when first-round draft pick Melvin Ingram limped off in pain after trainers looked at his left leg. But the outside linebacker from South Carolina was only diagnosed with a deep thigh bruise. Sage Rosenfels threw a late touchdown pass to Matt Asiata, who lost one of three Vikings fumbles earlier in the second half. His was at the San Diego 2-yard line. Lex Hilliard and Derrick Coleman (at the San Diego 18) also coughed up the ball, and Ponder showed his inexperience while throwing an interception. He finished 9 for 16 for 115 yards. Ponder managed to throw a spot-on 40-yard completion to Percy Harvin while Ingram tried to take him down by the shoulder, but many of his other passes were erratic. The worst one was in the second quarter when he pivoted to throw to Harvin on an out route toward the sideline without looking away first. Both Greg Gatson and DeAndre Presley were there, and Presley came down with the interception after they bobbled it together but kept it from touching the turf on their way down. ''They ran it the first drive. Then I slipped and missed the pick, and this time the quarterback just stared the route down and I just jumped in front of it,'' Presley said. The most encouraging development for the Vikings (No. 29 in the AP Pro32) was probably in pregame warmups, when running back Adrian Peterson took part in drills to continue to ramp up his rehabilitation. He's close to returning from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. The Vikings, though, lost promising rookie cornerback and punt returner Josh Robinson to a possible concussion in the second quarter. Mistral Raymond, in line to start at safety, hurt his back before the game and didn't suit up. The Chargers rested quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates, and the left side of the offensive line was out with injuries: center Nick Harwick (concussion), guard Tyronne Green (foot) and tackle Jared Gaither (back). All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen gave undrafted rookie Mike Harris, Gaither's replacement, all he could handle with two first-half sacks. Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley had two sacks as well. ''Whoever they put on the field, we've just got to defend them. That was our whole mindset, whether Rivers played or Gates played or not,'' Brinkley said. Running back Ryan Mathews (collarbone) and wide receivers Antonio Brown (ankle) and Eddie Royal (groin) have been out too. The Chargers are barely averaging 2 yards per rushing attempt in the preseason. Rookie Edwin Baker led the way with 35 yards on 13 carries. Whitehurst insisted getting hit a few times was welcomed. ''I don't think that I went to the ground at all last game. I got hit a few times. It felt pretty good,'' he said. Ponder's interception was originally ruled an incompletion, as Hilliard's fumble was declared down by contact first. Both calls were overturned after the Chargers challenged on a busy night for the replacement officials crew led by referee Wayne Elliott. There were 11 penalties in the first half alone on the Chargers. Allen, at least, wasn't worried about the quality of the officiating. ''I got a holding call tonight. That was awesome. So I'll take it,'' Allen said. --- Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP --- Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving ate the Celtics’ heart during the second half of Game 4

NFL to reportedly bring back fun touchdown celebrations

Mike Trout explains why he doesn’t look at advanced stats

Reds’ Joey Votto shuts down heckler with “I remember when you used to be thin”

Rob Gronkowski gets new contract, chance to double salary

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Padres offering $99 ticket plan for five June wins or 16 June games – whatever happens first

Former Jets WR Devin Smith found out he was cut via Twitter

Roger Goodell tweets ‘Key & Peele’ joke about relaxed celebration rules

Martavis Bryant: ‘I know this is my last chance’

Glennon: ‘This is my year and I’m not worried about the future’

Durant apologizes for response to fans complaining about blowouts

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker