Vikings Need to Show Urgency against Philadelphia

Minnesota had a good setup in Week 1 to get the 2023 NFL schedule off to a good start. But things, as they sometimes do for the Vikings, went sideways. The Vikings didn’t finish plays on offense and, after going 11-0 in one-score games last season, ended up being tripped up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener. The loss was a difficult one to swallow for the Vikings. Minnesota will now have a challenging set of games back-to-back to keep its hopes for another NFC North crown on track. The Vikings will travel to defending NFC champions Philadelphia this week and follow that up with a tough test against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3. 

The Eagles opened the season with a close road win over New England and will be happy to be back home. Philadelphia has major plans to try and be a Super Bowl contender this season. Grabbing another victory against the vulnerable Vikings would be a big boost for Philadelphia.

 

Vikings and Eagles Have Close History

 

The Eagles are 7.5-point favorites to win the opening game of week two that will be played at 7:16 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field. The all-time series between the two teams is tied at 15-15. Philadelphia won the team’s meeting last year, 24-7.

The NFC champions Philadelphia are 4-0 all-time against the Vikings in the playoffs. Philadelphia has won three of the past five games in the series, including a 38-7 win in the NFC Championship game. 

 

Minnesota Honors Bud Grant

 

The Vikings saw their legendary coach, Bud Grant, 95, pass away this offseason. Grant led the Vikings to their only four Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s. Unfortunately for Minnesota fans, the Vikings dropped all four games. 

The Vikings will have a patch with Grant’s signature on their jersey all season. Grant coached the Vikings from 1967 to 1983, with a one-year comeback in 1985. During his time in Minnesota, Grant compiled a 158-96-5 record. The Vikings won the NFC Central Division from 1973 to 1978 under Grant. He was also a long-time coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he won four Grey Cup championships.

 

NFC Champions Philadelphia Survives Against Patriots

Vikings Need to Show Urgency against Philadelphia
Eagles Patriots

The Eagles’ offense didn’t look as crisp as the unit that rolled over everyone last season on their way to a Super Bowl appearance. Philadelphia only scored two touchdowns during its 25-20 win over New England in Foxboro, Mass. The Eagles’ only offensive touchdown came on a five-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to DeVonta Smith.

Philadelphia scored a touchdown on defense, and the Eagles settled for four field goals from Jake Elliott. Most worrying for the NFC champions Philadelphia is its lack of a running game. The Eagles only averaged 3.9 yards per carry during the loss to New England. Kenneth Gainwell led the team with 54 yards on 14 carries. Philadelphia made veteran running back Rashaad Penny, who the Eagles signed away from Seattle in the offseason, a healthy scratch.

The Eagles will want to see this turnaround. Philadelphia allowed New England to gain 382 total yards compared to Philadelphia’s 251. The Eagles gained 306 of those yards through the air. Philadelphia’s defense racked up two sacks and intercepted a pass.

 

Hurts Didn’t Make a Ton of Big Plays for NFC Champions Philadelphia

 

Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts completed 66.7 percent of his passes but didn’t take many risks against the Patriots. He only put up 170 passing yards on 22 completions. A.J. Brown was the Eagles’ leading receiver, catching seven passes for 79 yards. 

Hurts was able to complete at least one pass to six different receivers. He did lose one fumble against the Patriots.

 

Vikings Offense Has Nightmarish Opener

yq6g1scr4y9icolcqngf
Minnesota Vikings

While Tampa Bay has a solid defense, Minnesota hoped for much more from its offense during the season opener. The Vikings turned the ball over three times, including the two fumbles and an interception by quarterback Kirk Cousins. Coins did throw for 344 yards and two touchdowns but couldn’t overcome the miscues.

One thing likely weighing heavy on the Vikings is the decision to allow running back Dalvin Cook to leave in the offseason. Minnesota’s running game was horrid against Tampa Bay. Alexander Mattison led the team with 34 yards on 11 carries. As a team, the Vikings only put up 41 rushing yards on 17 carries. 

 

Injuries Pile Up Across Minnesota Line

 

The Vikings picked up a few bumps and bruises during the season opener, especially on the offensive line. Minnesota center Garrett Bradbury was injured on the second drive and didn’t return for the Vikings. It is reported that he had a back injury.

Left tackle Christian Darrisaw was also injured for Minnesota. The Vikings lineman had an ankle injury but was able to return to the game despite having some pain. 

 

No Hard Feelings

 

Minnesota wide receiver Justin Jefferson has been vocal about his desire for a new contract. While the club and player are still far apart on a deal, Jefferson showed Sunday that he isn’t going to let money affect his performance. Jefferson was excellent against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

He caught nine of the 12 passes he was targeted on. Jefferson finished with a game-high 150 yards and had a long catch of 42 yards.

 

Philadelphia Survived Night where Brady was Honored

 

New England Patriots legendary quarterback and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady was honored during a halftime ceremony to retire his No. 12. Brady has a deep history against the NFC champions Philadelphia. New England played Philadelphia in Super Bowls XXXIX and LII. Back in 2004, Brady helped lead the Patriots past the Eagles 24-21.

The two teams rematched following the 2017 season when the Eagles got revenge on Brady by beating New England in the Super Bowl 41-33. Brady retired after a three-year stint with Tampa Bay at the end of last season.