5 Vikings Players to Watch vs. Eagles — Week 2 

5 Vikings Players to Watch vs. Eagles -- Week 2 
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Following an impressive victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. The Minnesota Vikings head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles in Week 2, looking to win the opening two games of a season for the first time since 2016.

Heading into the game, here are my 5 Vikings players to watch vs. the Eagles.

1. Dalvin Cook

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Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Eagles run defense was so bad against the Lions that Dalvin Cook should be relishing the prospect of Monday night’s game. There is an opportunity for him to have a really big night — like 150+ yards big.

Cook had a relatively quiet game against the Packers by his standards but still rushed for 90 yards. The ground game will be vital to the result on Monday night. The Vikings need Cook at his best, with help from fellow running back Alexander Mattison.

2. Harrison Phillips

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Jun 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Harrison Phillips. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The run game is also pivotal to the Eagles offense, and the Vikings will need to contain Miles Sanders and co. That starts in the center of the Vikings offensive line with Harrison Phillips, who had a very good debut in purple last Sunday. He excelled against the run, with PFF giving him a run defense grade of 81.5. Phillips will need to be equally stout against the Eagles if the Vikings are to have another good day. 

3. Dalvin Tomlinson

Oct 31, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Dalvin Tomlinson will also need to be solid against the run. However, in Week 1, it was pass rushing where he starred for the Vikings. PFF graded his pass rush against the Packers at 86.7, while his pass rush win rate of 25% was third-best in the league for a defensive tackle. In Week 1, only Aaron Donald (27.8%) and Michael Dogbe (27.3%) had more success rushing the passer from the middle. If he can maintain that level of play, Tomlinson will be in for a big season.

4. Lewis Cine

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Lewis Cine

The other central puzzle the Vikings defense needs to solve is how to contain Jalen Hurts. The Lions were able to get constant pressure on the Eagles quarterback, but he was continuously able to escape and make plays on the scramble. They eventually found some success bringing down defensive backs to get after the quarterbacks.

This could lead to Lewis Cine’s perfect chance to make a significant impact as the Vikings 2022 first-round pick finally gets to make his Minnesota debut. The tackling by the Vikings defense against the Packers was impressive. Adding a physical and violent tackler like Cine to the mix will also help as the Vikings try to stop the Eagles run game.

5. Jalen Reagor

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Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Reagor (5) and cornerback Kris Boyd. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Last week, it was a Za’Darius Smith revenge game. This week it is the turn of Jalen Reagor.

You just knew Smith was going to be in Aaron Rodgers‘ face all day long. I have a similar feeling that Reagor will have a big say in this game. As the Vikings punt returner, that’s the obvious place to look. A house call on a big punt return would be great. I also think coach O’Connell will have a couple of plays schemed up for him in this one, possibly one early on to settle any nerves he may have on his return to the team that drafted him.


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