Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings Semi-Coherent Preview

Oct 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) waves to teh stands after defeating the Houston Texans 31-13 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) waves to teh stands after defeating the Houston Texans 31-13 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

A preview of the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings.

After two straight losses, the good feelings from the Philadelphia Eagles‘ 3-0 start are gone. Now, there are questions about the defense, the offensive line, the receivers, and the coaching staff. But aside from that, everything is fine!

Unfortunately, the Eagles now face an imposing stretch of the schedule, with a team that looks like a genuine Super Bowl contender coming to town.

Minnesota Vikings

Record: 5-0 (First place in NFC North)

Last week: Bye (Previously defeated Houston Texans 31-13)

Head coach: Mike Zimmer

The last time they met

Late in the 2013 season, the Philadelphia Eagles were on a five-game winning streak when they traveled to Minnesota. It seemed unlikely that the 3-9-1 Vikings would end that winning streak, but that’s why they play the games. Led by quarterback Matt Cassel, the Vikings had their way with the Eagles’ defense, racking up 455 yards of offense in a 48-30 win.

What’s the deal with the Vikings?

Heading into the season, many people thought that the Vikings were a dark horse Super Bowl contender. They had a powerful defense, a top running back in Adrian Peterson, and a young, emerging quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater and Peterson have both suffered season-ending injuries, but that hasn’t slowed down the Vikings. Thanks to a new quarterback (more on him later) and a defense that is among the very best in the league, they are 5-0 and look like they might be the NFC’s best team.

Featured Vikings player: Everson Griffen

The Eagles’ offensive line – rookie offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai in particular – struggled against the Washington Redskins’ pass rush. Carson Wentz didn’t have much time to throw and was hit repeatedly.  Unfortunately, things don’t stand to get better this week.

The Vikings have given up the fewest points in the league, and that’s largely due to a pass rush that ranks third in the league with 19 sacks. Leading that effort is defensive end Everson Griffen.

In his seventh season, Griffen has become one of the league’s top pass rushers. In week three, he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, making this the second straight season which he has won the award.

It seems safe to assume that the Vikings will find a way to get Griffen lined up against Vaitai at least a few times

Reason to hate the Vikings

More from Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles own the Vikings’ first round pick, so the worse they do, the better the Eagles’ pick will be. Plus, do we really need to suffer the indignity of trading away a quarterback and then having him win a Super Bowl?

The return of Sam Bradford

There has been speculation as to what kind of reception Sam Bradford will receive when he returns to Philadelphia on Sunday. My guess is that he’ll be booed, but the fans won’t be too vicious or enthusiastic. That’s mostly because Bradford didn’t spend enough time, or accomplish enough – good or bad –  while he was here to merit much of a reaction.

Philadelphia Eagles
Aug 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford (7) drops back to pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Fans certainly didn’t like it when Bradford overvalued himself and demanded a trade, but most people seemed to put that behind them after he returned and played well in the preseason. And most fans were thrilled when the team was somehow able to get a first round pick in exchange for him.

Both teams seem to have benefited from the trade. Bradford is thriving in Minnesota, and the team has a legitimate shot to play in the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Eagles certainly don’t seem to be upset with their quarterback situation.

How good is Bradford anyway? He’s obviously talented, but there have always been excuses as to why he hasn’t succeeded. My belief is that he’s never going to carry a team to a Super Bowl, but if placed in the right situation, a team can win with him. (Of course, I feel that just about half the QBs in the league) He certainly seems to be in the right situation now, so there are no more excuses.

Key Eagles storyline: So, about that defense…

Two weeks ago, the Eagles’ defense was being hailed as one of the best in the league, and coordinator Jim Schwartz was being mentioned as a head coaching candidate. After two straight games of allowing 21 points in the first half, that talk has cooled considerably.

It isn’t clear what the problem is. Did the bye week cause the Philadelphia Eagles to lose their edge? Have opposing offensive coordinators figured out a way to use the Eagles’ attacking defensive style against them? Or have they simply run up against a couple of good offensive lines that outplayed them?

Regardless of the reason, if the Eagles want to end their losing streak, they’re going to have to get back to their dominant ways from the first three games.

Tweets of unimportance

I wonder how long it took her to come up with that.

The first quarter? Heck, maybe he shouldn’t even bother showing up at all!

You know, just because they’ve only allowed 12 points per game so far, it doesn’t mean that’s guaranteed to continue.

The Wentz watch

Carson Wentz didn’t play his best game last week, but all things considered, he played pretty well. Despite getting little protection and little help from his receivers, he continued to fight, and almost led the team to a win that they didn’t deserve.

Most people expected the Philadelphia Eagles would regress because of Wentz. The logic was that he’d start looking like a rookie and make some key mistakes. While he has indeed made some mistakes, it’s really been the rest of the team that has regressed around him.


Next: Remember It's A Rebuild Year For The Eagles

The Vikings have been one of the best defenses in the league, and I don’t think the Eagles have enough talent at the skill positions, or a good enough offensive line to overcome that. I think the Eagles’ defense rebounds and has a good week – look for two interceptions by Sam Bradford – but it won’t be enough.

Vikings 23 – Eagles 13