The Vikings were without their top two running backs, their most productive offensive lineman this season, and their starting cornerback duo. As if the odds weren’t stacked enough against them, Minnesota had to play the potent offense of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, so expectations were minimal as fans filed into the Metrodome.
The Vikings, however, had no-names show up big on their way to a 48-30 beatdown of the Eagles. Here are ten things I noticed about the game:
1. NFL Network reported prior to the game that Matt Cassel would remain with the Vikings into 2014. The understanding is that both Cassel and the Vikings have the option to void the second year of his contract following the season, so I was surprised to see such a concrete report come across the TV. Cassel then proceeded to have one of the best games of his career. He finished 26 of 35 for 382 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception and took three sacks, but for the most part he was sharp and poised on his way to a 116.6 quarterback rating. He also ran for 19 yards and another score. These are the types of games we just never saw out of Christian Ponder and it is no wonder that Cassel’s future with the franchise suddenly looks far brighter than Ponder’s. Jennings had never before, in his entire career, caught 11 passes in one game.
2. Greg Jennings continued to show that he can better reward the Vikings for their investment when Cassel is at the helm. His best game as a Vikings so far came to the tune of 13 targets, 11 catches, 163 yards, and a touchdown. Jennings continues to be precise with his route running and the main difference lately seems to be that he now has a quarterback willing and able to take advantage of his talents.