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5 Vikings-Eagles Storylines: Readying for Prime-Time Matchup

EAGAN, Minn. — Fresh off their 23-7 victory over the Packers to open 2022 and the team's era under Head Coach Kevin O'Connell, the Minnesota Vikings (1-0) will visit the Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) in Week 2.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (CT), and the game will air on ABC for a nationwide audience as part of a doubleheader. (Tennessee will visit Buffalo for a 6:15 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.)

Playing on Monday has brought an immediate shift in Minnesota's schedule.

Like most teams who play on Monday Night Football, the Vikings shifted their schedule back a day to make Thursday, Friday and Saturday more like a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That makes Sunday the travel day.

Here is a predicted key matchup, along with five storylines for this week.

Matchup to watch: Vikings offensive line vs. Eagles defensive line

The Vikings offensive line helped Minnesota average 4.5 yards per carry and protected to allow Kirk Cousins to pass for 277 yards and two scores while taking just one sack.

The group is set to face a strong challenge across the line this week.

Beyond the difficulties of it being hard to hear in road venues, Philadelphia is stacked with talent on its defensive line. All four starters have at least one Pro Bowl to their credit, and the players have combined for 162 sacks over the course of their career.

Brandon Graham (59.5 sacks since 2010) sets one edge, and Josh Sweat (17.5 since 2018) mans the other. Fletcher Cox (58.5 since 2012) is a six-time Pro Bowler who has wrecked games from the 3-technique position for years. Javon Hargrave joined the Eagles in 2020. He has 26.5 career sacks.

Minnesota handled a strong group from Green Bay last week and will need to do the same this week.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Eagles.


1. Are they ready for some prime-time football?

The Vikings haven't had the best showing in prime-time games in recent years.

Aside from wins at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football in 2020 and 2021, the previous Vikings MNF victory was Oct. 6, 2008, at New Orleans.

Minnesota hasn't won on a Sunday night since 2019 at Dallas, but the Vikings did record a victory at Philadelphia on a Tuesday night in 2010 after a blizzard delayed a Sunday Night Football game for two days.

Cousins has drawn some ire when prime-time performances haven't matched his Sunday afternoon showings, but this is another opportunity for this team to move past prior narratives and build on the momentum from Sunday's crisp game.

2. Long-term implications?

Repeat after me: "It's way too early to think about playoff ramifications."

But, you counter, this game is a contest between the Vikings, who missed the playoffs with an 8-9 record last season, and the Eagles. Philadelphia finished 9-8 last season, but the Eagles would have lost a tiebreaker to Minnesota.

So, the results of this one could have an increased magnitude at the end of the season.

Many have been high on the Eagles returning to the postseason; the Vikings will be considered underdogs by most for a second consecutive week.

It will be interesting to see how each team handles a taste of success from last week and moves on to try to stack another in the win column.

3. What will be Philadelphia's approach to covering Justin Jefferson and Co? And will Minnesota have a countermove if needed.

If you haven't watched the Kevin O'Connell Film Session this week, make sure to check it out.

O'Connell illustrates how everyone on the Vikings worked together to get Jefferson about 20 yards of space on his 36-yard touchdown reception.

K.J. Osborn ran a clear out route deep, and Adam Thielen set a legal moving pick with his route. Irv Smith, Jr., occupied rookie linebacker Quay Walker with an underneath route to increase the size of the throwing window.

Cousins felt pressure from his blindside and delivered the football in rhythm to allow Jefferson to catch it in stride.

Jefferson's nine-catch, 184-yard, two-score game is the kind that might prompt increased emphasis on covering him.

If Philadelphia is able to cover Jefferson better than the Packers did, how will the Vikings react?

4. How will the Vikings handle more receiving threats?

Minnesota limited a new-look and shorthanded Packers receivers group to 12 receptions for 120 yards on 16 targets (out of 35).

Eagles offseason acquisition A.J. Brown was more productive, totaling 10 catches for 155 yards on 13 targets, a lion's share against Detroit. No other wide receiver recorded a catch; DeVonta Smith was targeted four times to open his second pro season. Smith totaled 64 catches for 916 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.

5. Handling the hostile environment

The hostility in Philadelphia is well documented.

It's one of the toughest places to play. Former Eagles Jordan Hicks and Jalen Reagor know full-well the advantage from the home sideline. Other Vikings who have played there in recent years will also be able to help prep teammates who have not set foot in the venue.

Will this Vikings squad harness the energy of an opposing crowd and play through it? Monday's game will be one of the best places all season to find out.