The Chargers’ injury wave from 2015 was supposed to be done and over with.
White wash at best.
Three games into the 2016 preseason, the wave’s reforming.
The Chargers most reliable offensive lineman from 2015, Joe Barksdale, left in the first half with what the team called an ankle injury. The right tackle was rolled up on by teammate Orlando Franklin, and was down on the field for a few minutes before walking off under his own power.
The Chargers were already without right guard D.J. Fluker to start the game. Fluker injured his foot during practice last week, after the team’s second preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Additionally, running back Branden Oliver left the game with an Achilles injury. He was in noticeable pain and was carted off the field.
Oliver was looking to rebound this season after missing eight games last year with a toe injury.
Running back Dreamius Smith, who replaced Oliver, was injured in the fourth quarter. He was able to walk off field under his own power.
Despite the injuries on offense, there was some good to take away from the Chargers 23-10 loss to the Vikings.
Melvin Gordon continued to look more confident entering his second season. Gordon rushed for a 39-yard touch down run in the second quarter, his first rushing touchdown as a professional.
Earlier this preseason, Gordon scored his first touchdown on a 44-yard catch-and-run against the Tennessee Titans.
Against Minnesota, quarterback Philip Rivers recognized a potential blitz from the Vikings and audibled to a run play at the line of scrimmage. Gordon made one defender miss with a nice cut just before the line of scrimmage and then showed strong burst up the middle of the field.
He finished with 51 rushing yards on four attempts.
Rivers completed five of his nine attempts for 54 yards and was intercepted on a pass intended for Keenan Allen. The ball bounced off Allen’s hands and before the Vikings’ Harrison Smith came down with the pick.
Allen was targeted four times between Rivers and Kellen Clemens but only finished with one reception for six yards.
Defensively, the Chargers struggled to limit big plays, and that was without the Vikings’ Adrian Petersen.
San Diego allowed a 35 and 22-yard run, and receptions of 27, 26, 22, and 19 yards. Three of the four long catches came on one drive before the end of the first half for Minnesota. It culminated with Teddy Bridgewater hooking up with tight end Kyle Rudolph for a 27-yard touchdown.
The Chargers wrap up the 2016 preseason at home against the San Francisco 49ers Thursday, September 1st.