Nfl Philadelphia Eagles At Detroit Lions
The Vikings will travel to Philadelphia to play against the Eagles. Both teams shared the field for some battles in the past. The Vikings won the last two after losing a forgettable heartbreaker in the playoffs. Some players of the star-studded lineup from five years ago are still on the team.
6. Lane Johnson
The offensive tackle stood out at Oklahoma in college, and the Eagles selected him with the fourth overall pick. It’s not easy to play up to the high expectations of that draft position, but he didn’t disappoint. After a battle in training camp as a rookie, he earned the starting job partly because an injury took Dennis Kelly out of the equation. Since then, Johnson has been handling the right guard duties for the Eagles.
Until 2020, he formed an outstanding tackle duo with Jason Peters. Johnson started 113 games for the Eagles. He often didn’t get the recognition of national media and therefore missed out on some accolades. However, he’s a one-time first-team All-Pro and is coming fresh from a second-team All-Pro season. Per PFF, he allowed his last sack in 2020. He’s 32 years old but not showing any signs of slowing down. His next test will come against the combination of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith.
5. A.J. Brown
After not having any success with wide receivers in the draft, for example, drafting Jalen Reagor, who’s now playing for the Vikings, GM Howie Roseman traded for one. A.J. Brown is one of the better wideouts in the NFL. That’s why the Eagles traded a first-round pick for him and extended his contract.
Despite struggling with some injuries in 2021, Brown still entered 2022 with almost 3,000 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. In Week 1, Brown looked phenomenal and recorded 155 yards in his Eagles debut. Unlike last week, when the Packers didn’t have a significant threat in the passing game, Brown will be a different challenge for Cameron Dantzler and Patrick Peterson. The receiver missed the matchup against the Vikings in 2020. Monday’s game will be his first time facing the Vikings.
4. Brandon Graham
The defensive end was the 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft, and the Eagles traded up to get him. He immediately became a starting defensive end for Andy Reid’s Eagles. At the end of his rookie season, Graham suffered a torn ACL and missed the remaining three games and most of his sophomore campaign.
Since then, Graham has been highly reliable and played every game in nine consecutive seasons, outside of one rest day in 2017. Of course, he was also part of the Super Bowl-winning team. At the end of the Super Bowl, Graham strip-sacked Tom Brady, a play that decided the game.
In 2021, Graham tore his Achilles tendon, and he missed all but two games. Aged 33, it was in question if he could ever get back to his old self after the devastating injury. In Week 1 against the Lions, the defensive end made his comeback and looked better than ever. He recorded four pressures, including a sack against Jared Goff. He’s now 34 years old but didn’t lose a step, even after his injury in 2021.
3. Jason Kelce
The center was the pro comparison of Vikings center Garrett Bradbury in the draft. The veteran is, like Bradbury, undersized, as he’s listed at 295 lbs. However, he possesses the anchor that Bradbury misses. He combines impressive athleticism, power, and mental strength.
Like the aforementioned Johnson and Graham, Kelce spent his whole career in Philadelphia. The Eagles selected him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. He started 160 games in his tenure with the Eagles and is a four-time first-team All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler. He’s now 34 years old but is still one of the fastest and one of the best offensive linemen in the league.
2. Darius Slay
He’s another aging veteran still playing like he’s in his prime. Slay is 31 years old. Most cornerbacks lose more than just one step at that age. Slay, however, is still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
He started his career in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions until he was traded to the Eagles in 2020. Slay intercepted three passes thrown by Vikings quarterbacks in his career and caught 23 passes overall.
The Eagles likely want him to cover Justin Jefferson. It will be one of the most exciting matchups in Week 2. However, head coach Kevin O’Connell found a way to scheme Jefferson against different players. In Week 1 against Green Bay, Jefferson was rarely lined up against Jaire Alexander. Slay is a four-time Pro Bowler and a one-time first-team All-Pro. The accolades prove that Slay is one of the most overlooked players in the NFL in the last decade.
1. Jordan Mailata
Most NFL fans don’t know who Mailata is, but they should. Mailata is the left tackle of the Eagles. He signed a huge extension in the offseason, worth $64 million. In the 2018 draft, the Eagles took a chance on a rugby player without any football experience, and the gamble paid off. He needed a few years to develop. His first start came in 2020 after long-time tackle Jason Peters suffered an injury.
Mailata is 6’8″ and weighs 365 lbs, and, therefore, one of the largest players in the league. However, he’s still mobile enough to be an elite tackle. PFF graded him as the third-best offensive tackle in the 2021 season. His size makes it incredibly tough to get around him and impossible to overpower him. In the Week 2 matchup, he’ll face star pass rushers Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith in an epic clash of superhumans.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt