Eye on the Enemy: Can the Eagles stop the Vikings?

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 11: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass during an NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers on September 11, 2022 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings have a long and tumultuous history as NFC rivals.

The two teams have met four times in the playoffs, but have faced off 29 total times. Some of the Eagles’ biggest historical victories have come against the Vikings as well.

The playoff wins in 2004, and 2008 led directly to deep playoff runs for Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid, while the 1980 divisional round contest helped Philadelphia reach their first Super Bowl.

Of course, who can forget the Eagles’ 38-7 blowout win in the NFC Title game in 2017 that helped the city of Philadelphia claim their first Super Bowl victory?

Since the NFC Title wins, the Vikings have gotten the best of the Eagles in back-to-back contests though. With a new coaching staff at the helm and a quarterback that has feasted on the Eagles, the stage is set for a Monday night matinee between the Eagles and Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings (1-0)

Last Game: 23-7 win over Green Bay Packers

Offensive Ranking: 8th

Defensive Ranking: 14th

Head to Head Matchup: Vikings lead series 15-14 (Eagles 4-0 in playoffs)

Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Kevin O’Connell

Offensive Coordinator: Wes Phillips

Defensive Coordinator: Ed Donatell

Special Teams Coordinator: Matt Daniels

Offensive Overview

The Vikings made a massive statement in week one of the NFL season by absolutely dismantling the Green Bay Packers. Kirk Cousins threw for over 270 yards and two scores while Justin Jefferson tormented the Packers for nine catches, 184 yards, and two scores. Minnesota is one of the most lethal offenses in football with Adam Theilen and Dalvin Cook also major contributors to the production of the offense.

Cousins has also dominated the Eagles in both Minnesota and when he was a Washington Redskin quarterback. Cousins has a 21:6 TD:INT ratio and is 6-3 against Philadelphia. The Vikings QB’s 3-2 on the road in Philly, and is 2-9 on Monday Night Football. One thing to keep in mind is that O’Connell’s system is still new and will cause nightmare scenarios for any team early in the season.

Defensive Overview

While the Viking offense scored at will, Minnesota’s defense was beyond impressive against the back-to-back league MVP. The Vikings sacked Rodgers four times, forced two turnovers, and gave up a pedestrian 5.3 yards a pass. New additions of Jordan Hicks and Zedarius Smith showed out in their first game in purple. Hicks recorded 14 tackles and a sack, while Smith recorded a sack against his former team.

Minnesota poses matchup problems all over their defense and will be the second team Philly faces this season that has a very strong front seven. They are not impenetrable though. Green Bay dropped several wide-open passes that could have gone for large gains behind a leaky Viking secondary. If there are plays to be had, it’s certainly in the secondary.

Injuries:

No major injuries to report.

X-Factor: Justin Jefferson

Jefferson has yet to face the team that chose Jalen Reagor in front of him, and he will get his first chance against the Eagles on Monday night. Jefferson is lethal anywhere on the field and is a tough matchup for Philadelphia’s solid secondary. While Darius Slay and James Bradberry are two of the best outside corners in football, it’s hard to see either matching up well with Jefferson’s speed and route-running ability.

Avonte Maddox should be expected to struggle in the slot. Philadelphia will need to do a better job of tackling than they did in week one, and get more intense pressure on the quarterback. Disrupting Jefferson’s connection with Cousins will be a main focal point for the Eagles’ defense on Monday.

Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

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