Five Eagles who need to step up against the Vikings on Sunday

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The Eagles week 7 matchup against the Vikings promises to be the most important game of the season so far. From Sam Bradford’s return, to watching Wentz try to unravel one of the league’s most intimidating pass rushes, there is plenty to look forward to. But if the Eagles have a chance of ending the Minnsesota undefeated streak, they will need big games from players who are yet to shine.

 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai:
The rookie’s baptism of fire against Ryan Kerrigan has been a hot topic all week, but it may only be the beginning. The Vikings pass rush is lethal..and at the head of it all is Danielle Hunter. The Defensive End already has four sacks this season along with 18 tackles..and will no doubt be licking his lips after Vaitai’s struggles against Washington.

If the Eagles are going to win the time of possession battle, Wentz needs as much time in the pocket as possible..something Hunter and company will look to disrupt. Vaitai will no doubt be under the microscope this week..but if he can hold his own and fix the mistakes he made continuously against the Redskins, not only will it reaffirm Pederson’s trust, but help open up the running game and give Wentz some much needed time against such a dominant Defense.

 

Vinny Curry:
Although he’s been battling injury through the opening weeks of the season, Curry is yet to show the explosiveness he become renowned for. There was a flash of brilliance as he set the edge while Hicks stormed through the Redskins O-Line for a tackle for a loss..but Curry has been uncharacteristically quiet this year.

With Barwin likely seeing a decrease in reps in order to aid production, there is a high chance that Curry will be called upon more frequently against the Vikings. After being paid handsomely in the offseason, the Eagles will need to see more from the Defensive End if they are to stop Sam Bradford from finding a dangerous rhythm.

 

Nolan Carroll:
The Eagles cornerback corps has had an interesting season so far to say the least..but Nolan Carroll is someone who has consistently struggled. With only 16 tackles so far this season and all three of his pass deflections coming against the Steelers, Carroll has been underwhelming after what was a relatively strong 2015 season.

Stefon Diggs has 372 yards already this season with five passes going for more than 20 yards. Bradford may not air it out often, but the chemistry with Diggs is something to be wary of..especially when lining up against an inconsistent Nolan Carroll.

Carroll will have his work cut out for him on Sunday, but if he can keep Diggs quiet and rekindle the form he showed against the Steelers..it will minimize the effect one of their most explosive weapons will have on the Eagles Defense and force Bradford to look elsewhere.

 

Nigel Bradham:
Off the field controversies aside, Bradham has emerged as the Eagles most prolific coverage linebacker, just as we expected..but after some sloppy play against a Jordan Reed-less Redskins, Bradham will now be tasked with keeping Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph quiet.

Rudolph already has three touchdown passes this season..and after aiding Ertz’s historic late season run last season, we know how much Bradford values explosive tight ends. This will be one of the most entertaining matchups to watch..but also the most important.

The Eagles have to balance their pass rush with keeping the receiving weapons quiet..and Kyle Rudolph is as dangerous as any TE in the league right now. It will be a true test of Bradham’s ability..but one that if passed, could give the Eagles Defense a momentous advantage over the Vikings Offense.

 

Zach Ertz:
The franchise tight end has been worryingly quiet so far this season..but found himself open and un-targeted quite often against Washington. The lethal tight end is imperative to the Eagles passing Offense..but has had a strange start to the season after many expected big things, given Pederson’s previous success with Travis Kelce.

Eric Kendricks is the man that stands in his way, a second year linebacker who already has 6 passes Defensed, a pick six and 36 tackles this season. Kendricks may just be one of the most dominant coverage linebackers in the NFL at the moment, making the urgency of an Ertz breakout even more prominent.

Wentz will need to get the ball off quickly on Sunday and find a reliable pair of hands..and the Eagles will be hoping that Ertz finds his rhythm early on and can help add a level to the Offense that has been missing in recent weeks.

 

 

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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