The Vikings righted their ship on Sunday with a **23-21 victory** over the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Minnesota never trailed, but it needed several **gritty plays** down the stretch to fulfill Kirk Cousins' pregame **“finish” request**.
Cousins delivered on his message, completing 30 of 37 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 109.6. Adam Thielen led Minnesota with 116 receiving yards and a touchdown, going **past the 100-yard mark for a fifth straight game** to open the season.
Linval Joseph returned a fumble 64 yards for a touchdown and **made his mark** on the game in multiple ways.
Dan Bailey's **52-yard field goal** provided Minnesota with important insurance late, and the offensive line played with **heavy hearts** on what would have been former coach Tony Sparano's 57th birthday.
Here are three stats that stood out.
1. Five first downs by rushing
The Vikings entered the game averaging 2.5 first downs per game by rushing and 63 yards on the ground per outing.
The Eagles entered the game allowing just 63.8 rushing yards per game through the season's first quarter.
Minnesota rushed for 58 yards in the first half against Philadelphia, however, and totaled five first downs by running the football, even without Dalvin Cook in the lineup.
Latavius Murray led Minnesota with 42 yards on 11 carries, and the Vikings also implemented creative plays involving Stefon Diggs, who rushed two times for 25 yards.
The Vikings had 13 first downs by passing and one via penalty, but the blend helped keep the Eagles defense honest.
Philadelphia had four first downs by rushing, 15 by passing and two via penalties. Five of Philadelphia's 21 first downs earned occurred in the final three minutes.
2. 1 pre-snap offensive penalty for Vikings, compared to 5 by Eagles
Hostile environments can create problems for teams on the road before snaps, but the Vikings handled Lincoln Financial Field smoothly.
Minnesota had just one pre-snap penalty (a false start for minus-5 yards), compared to five (three false starts and two illegal formations for minus-25) by Philadelphia.
The Vikings also avoided significant losses. Minnesota had five total plays lose yardage, although Philadelphia fans would contest a sack of Cousins by Michael Bennett should have been a loss of 8 instead of roughing the passer. The Vikings lost 3 on a sack that did count, 1 after a bad shotgun snap, 2 twice on runs in the second half and 7 (and the football) on a lateral to Roc Thomas that the rookie couldn't corral.
The Eagles lost a total of 28 yards on three Vikings sacks. They also lost 1 on a toss play on third-and-1 early and 8 on the fumble return by Joseph.
View images as the Vikings take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
3. 3-for-7, compared to 0-for-4 on third downs in first half
In the first half, when Minnesota built a 17-3 lead, the Vikings were 3-for-7 on third downs, which stood in stark contrast to the Eagles going 0-for-4.
The conversions allowed Minnesota to run 37 plays and net 208 yards, compared to 19 plays for 91 net yards by Philadelphia. The Vikings possessed the ball for more than 19 minutes in the first half.
Minnesota finished 4-for-11 on third downs (36.4 percent), and Philadelphia finished 2-for-9 (22.2 percent).