Dan Fouts passed to Wes Chandler for two touchdowns early in the game and new fullback Pete Johnson bulled in for two more scores as the San Diego Chargers embarrassed the Minnesota Vikings, 42-13, today.
It was the second worst defeat in the Vikings' history and spoiled the debut of Coach Les Steckel on, coincidently, "Bud Grant Day" honoring their former coach of 17 years.
Grant, known for his dry humor, closed the ceremonies with something he said he had always wanted to say in the Metrodome: "I just want to say thank you for not smoking."
But it was Fouts, who missed six games last season with an injured shoulder, who came out smoking. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 292 yards before backup Ed Luther took over in the third quarter. Fouts threw Chandler five passes for 89 yards, Bobby Duckworth four for 115 yards and tight end Kellen Winslow four for 33 yards.
Charlie Joiner, the 16-year veteran, caught three for 52 yards, 25 coming on a touchdown pass from tight end Pete Holohan in the second half. Joiner became the fourth NFL receiver to surpass 10,000 yards.
Winslow, 26, reiterated that this was his last game. "I just can't play under these conditions anymore, and effective at 9 a.m. tomorrow, I'm retired, I'm gone, it's that simple," he said minutes after the game. Winslow says he had an agreement with former Chargers owner Gene Klein to increase his $210,000 annual salary to about $700,000, but new owner Alex Spanos won't honor that deal.
"I feel I've been shafted. We had a deal," Winslow said. "They've done what they have to do and I've done what I have to do."
He said he won't return to San Diego with the team, but will go home to St. Louis instead.
"If things aren't worked out by Friday by a trade or something, I'm going on a cruise of the Caribbean. It's something I've always wanted to do," said Winslow, whose 347 receptions the last five years are tops in the NFL.
Fouts, who is not happy that Winslow is leaving, said, "Maybe I'll pay him." "He can probably afford it," Winslow said. "I appreciate the sentiment but the promise was not made by Dan."