Minnesota appeared to have a very good San Diego Chargers team on the ropes in their season opener, paced by a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Percy Harvin that highlighted a great first half for the Vikings. Minnesota intercepted Philip Rivers twice, and basically held the Chargers in check en route to a 17-7 halftime lead. However, the Minnesota offense fell apart in the second half, leaving the defense on the field far too long and, eventually, causing them to wear out. San Diego scored 17 unanswered points in the second half, and took the game away from Minnesota with a 24-17 victory.
Tampa Bay started their season off with a loss at home to the Detroit Lions. Promising young quarterback Josh Freeman threw for 245 yards and a touchdown, but the Lions held the Buccaneers to just 56 yards on 16 carries. Freeman was actually the leading rusher for Tampa Bay, as running back LeGarrette Blount was held to 15 yards on five carries. The Buccaneers got an interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Aqib Talib, but did not register a sack against a suspect Detroit offensive line, and allowed Matthew Stafford to throw for 305 yards and three touchdowns.
No team can really "afford to lose" at any point in an NFL season, but this loss would be much more devastating for the Vikings than it would be for Tampa Bay. In Tampa's case, every team in the NFC South lost their opener, so falling to 0-2 would still allow them to be a part of the division race. Minnesota, however, was the only team in the NFC North to suffer a loss in the first week of the season, and falling to 0-2 would be a huge problem for them in the race for a division title and a playoff berth.
Kickoff for this one is scheduled for noon Central time. We will have full coverage of all of the proceedings for you right here on SB Nation Minnesota.