The Top 4 Things to Watch in Vikings at Eagles

Vikings May Not Have Been as Locked Down as Stats Showed on Monday
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni meets with Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell after the game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings hope to bounce back from a wretched Week 1 loss at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend.

The purple team has yet to lose back-to-back games under head coach Kevin O’Connell, and the Eagles are a mighty test for that stat.

The Top 4 Things to Watch in Vikings at Eagles

The Eagles are favored by seven to topple Minnesota.

Along the way, these are the four storylines to watch, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

4. Shorthanded Eagles

to Watch in Vikings
Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (24) against the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Linebacker Nakobe Dean hit injured reserve after Week 1 — not ideal for Philadelphia, although it has defensive depth galore.

James Bradberry (CB, concussion) hasn’t practiced this week, a huge blow to the secondary if he cannot clear concussion protocol. Reed Blankenship (S, ribs) and Kenneth Gainwell (RB, ribs) also haven’t practiced.

Fletcher Cox (DT, ribs) was limited on Tuesday.

If the Vikings plan to defeat the Eagles, they have a few injury gifts.

3. Kirk in Primetime

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The narrative is dumb, but folks buy into it anyway.

Teams led by Kirk Cousins are 11-18 (.379) in primetime games, and most of the general population thinks that record is closer to 1-28. It isn’t.

Cousins has delivered 53 touchdown passes to 27 interceptions in primetime showdowns, with 271.9 passing yards per game and a 94.8 passer rating. Mathematically, that’s akin to a 17-game season with 31 touchdowns, 15 picks, and 4,620 passing yards.

Does that sound like a man who struggles to you?

Still, folks will tune in to see if Cousins flops under the lights.

2. Vikings iOL vs. Eagles iDL

PurplePTSD: Old Viking to Dolphins, Ed Ingram Momentum, MIN-LV Winners and Losers
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram (67) defends against Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Vernon Butler (94) in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Eagles have straight killers on the inside of the defensive line, and Minnesota has no real law enforcement.

In Week 1, the Vikings interior offensive line floundered frequently — a Vikings football theme for a decade — thanks to Vita Vea and Friends on the Buccaneers roster.

Of course, the follow-up test would be the Eagles, one of the best interior defensive line groups on the planet. On paper, the Eagles iDL should shred the Vikings, but as former Viking DT Henry Thomas likes to say, “Paper don’t play.”

Regardless, Minnesota must hold serve upfront to have a puncher’s chance at downing Philadelphia on its turf.

1. Can Vikings Bounce Back and Avoid 0-2 Rut?

Aug 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks on during the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Mentioned above, the Vikings lost zero back-to-back games in 2022, O’Connell’s first year in the saddle. This is probably the prime example of when that streak will end, but still, one must see it to believe it.

On the horizon in the next month, Minnesota has games against the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Francisco 49ers, so it will have to win one “extra” game against those daunting foes to make up for its sins last Sunday against the meh Buccaneers.

The Vikings can still rebound from an 0-2 start, but you better believe a loud faction of Vikings fans will be “out” on the team at 0-2 and call for the club to tank for Caleb Willaims, which they won’t do.

Generally speaking, a win at Philadelphia would totally rejuvenate the fanbase.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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