Vikings are improved, however dominant Eagles offered a dose of actuality

By Carmen Vitaly
FOX Sports activities NFC North Author

We’d need to pump the breaks on the minnesota vikings hypetrain.

The Vikings got here storming out of the gate in Week 1, making an announcement over the division-rival Inexperienced Bay Packers behind a 184-yard efficiency from third-year receiver Justin Jefferson.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​seemed reborn beneath new head coach Kevin O’Connell, the protection seemed rejuvenated with the tandem of Danielle Hunter and former packer Za’Darius Smith and Minnesota one of the full groups within the NFC.

That each one got here crashing down due to the Philadelphia Eagles (and perhaps a Monday Night time Soccer curse).

Eagles DT Fletcher Cox forces a fumble towards Vikings QB Kirk Cousins ​​throughout the fourth quarter Monday evening in Philadelphia. (Picture by Mitchell Leff/Getty Photos)

Let’s get this out of the best way: The Eagles are good. Actually good. Quarterback Jalen Hurts placed on a clinic in versatility, making good selections all evening on his method to finishing 26 of 31 go makes an attempt for 333 yards and a passing landing (plus a dashing rating) together with a 108.7 passer score.

The place the Eagles have been diversified and versatile on offense, the Vikings have been inflexible and stiff on protection. They refused to return out of the two-high shell that they had satisfied themselves would work, even towards a real dual-threat quarterback like Hurts.

Because of this, he took what they gave him — which was numerous room within the intermediate space of ​​the sphere — and took benefit of the following mild bins. Hurts hit 23 of his 25 go makes an attempt inside 20 yards of the road of scrimmage — and that is to not say Hurts did not take his photographs, both. He hit Quez Watkins for a 53-yard rating within the second quarter after being given a pristine pocket by maybe the perfect offensive line in soccer. Misplaced in Hurts’ heroics was, in truth, the play from the entrance 5. They unlocked the total scope of this Philly offense, main the best way for 163 dashing yards on high of the passing sport effectivity. Minnesota was on its heels the complete evening.

The Vikings did nothing to assist themselves, both. Dallas Goedert dropped a first-down ball positioned completely by Cousins ​​within the first quarter. Kenneth Gainwell gifted his group with the ball on the Philadelphia nine-yard line after nabbing the one interception off Hurts all evening. However as an alternative of coming away with much-needed factors within the fourth quarter whereas down by three scores, Eagles cornerback Darius Slay registered his second interception of Cousins ​​on the evening — once more in entrance of large receiver Justin Jefferson and this time, in the long run zone .

Whereas the ball to Jefferson in the long run zone was undoubtedly underthrown by Cousins, the primary interception might not have been all on the quarterback. Jefferson dipped behind Slay within the third quarter, permitting Slay to be within the spot Jefferson was purported to fill. Cousins ​​threw the ball anyway, with the expectation Jefferson could be there, and it felt like that was the start of the tip for the Vikings.

After that interception within the third, the Vikings’ drive chart went interception, punt, interception after which lastly (perhaps mercifully) they ran out of time on their final possession, succumbing to the Eagles 24-7.

So whereas the Vikings seemed rattling close to unstoppable in Week 1, Week 2 revealed the cracks that also exist in Minnesota. Cousins ​​nonetheless struggles on Monday evening. The protection nonetheless appears to be like restricted towards maybe extra unfamiliar opponents. And whereas he stays a phenom, Justin Jefferson is not immune from making errors himself.

This may not make or break Minnesota’s season. As we acknowledged earlier, the Eagles are a very good group. The Vikings will play the Lions in Week 3 earlier than going through one other highway check within the Superdome towards the New Orleans Saints. A playoff berth is not out of the query by any stretch of the creativeness, and it may find yourself being a very profitable first season of the O’Connell period in Minnesota. However there isn’t any denying some wind was taken out of the Vikings’ sails in Philly and perhaps expectations are just a bit bit decrease than they have been after final week.

By means of two weeks, each group within the NFC North is 1-1.

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports activities. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Community and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Tremendous Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her resume. You possibly can observe Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.

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