The Minnesota Vikings take on the Philadelphia Eagles tonight in what promises to be a showdown of two of the top teams in the NFC. If the Vikings come away with a victory, they’ll establish a firm lead over the rest of the NFC North for the division title. If the Eagles win, they can keep place with the New York Giants who have come out of the gates hot. For Minnesota to come away with a win tonight, they need their stars to show up. Here are six Vikings that must bring their a-Games on Monday Night Football.
The Former Eagles
Firstly, we have to talk about the former Philadelphia Eagles who are playing in Philly for the first time since leaving the franchise. If there was ever a week for Kevin O’Connell to pull out all the stops on offense, it’s this week.
The Vikings are going into hostile territory, playing against a very strong defense, and have to deal with one of the rowdiest crowds in the entire league. Considering that, and keeping a sprinkle of revenge in mind, we might see some Jalen Reagor tonight whether it be a jet sweep or some intricate route running. Keep an eye out for No. 7 tonight.
Additionally, Jordan Hicks and the Vikings linebacker group are going to have their hands full containing Jalen Hurts in the pocket. Hicks racked up 14 tackles last week, but he struggled in pass coverage. As a response, perhaps Hicks’ job tonight is spying Hurts and making sure he doesn’t hurt the Vikings defense with his legs.
Don’t be surprised if the Eagles go all-in on making sure Justin Jefferson doesn’t hurt them this week, especially in the red zone. Because of that, Adam Thielen could slip through the cracks with his surgical route running skills.
Last week against Green Bay, Thielen had just three receptions for 36 yards. Throughout his career, Thielen has averaged 75 yards per game against Philly. I’d expect a bigger showing tonight.
The Vikings run defense wasn’t all that great against the Packers, but Harrison Phillips stood out as a positive for the team. Between the Hurts RPO options and Miles Sanders being a sneaky-good RB out of the backfield, Minnesota will have their hands full tonight.
Luckily, the Vikings have a veteran defensive front with Phillips and Dalvin Tomlinson. They’ll need both these guys, but especially Phillips at nose tackle, to wreak havoc in the middle of defensive line.
Poor Ed Ingram, man. In his NFL debut he had to go up against a Packers defensive front that included freak athletes like Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, and Devonte Wyatt. Overall, he performed about as well as anyone could expect in that game.
For his efforts, now he’s rewarded with a matchup with another monster of a man in Jordan Davis. When Davis was on the field for the Eagles in Week 1, they dominated the Lions offensive line; a unit that is widely considered to be one of the best in football. Ingram must find a way to slow down Davis for the Vikings to win this game.
Look, we’ve all been thinking about it this week. It’s just natural to do so when the Vikings play a big game, especially a primetime game on the road. Greg Joseph can’t leave points out on the field tonight. Whether it’s extra points or field goals, he needs to be perfect when kicking the ball.
Since missing the potential game-winning kick against the Cardinals in Week 2 last season, Joseph has been nearly perfect. Or, at least as close to perfect as it gets in Minnesota. He’s made 33/37 field goals (89.2%) and 32/35 XPs (91.4%). He’s bounced back nicely since the Disaster in the Desert, but maybe that just means he’s due for a heartbreaking miss tonight.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken