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Lunchbreak: Vikings Offensive Communication will be Critical in Road Test

Last week, the Minnesota Vikings used their home field to their advantage, as U.S. Bank Stadium was raucous from start to finish in a win against the Green Bay Packers.

Tonight, the Vikings will try to do the opposite, and silence the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans at Lincoln Financial Field.

Matthew Coller of Purple Insider recently looked at the effectiveness of home-field advantage and how Minnesota's offense is preparing to communicate on the road. Coller wrote that despite home-field advantage not being a major factor across the NFL last season, Philadelphia has continued to find success in its friendly confines:

While Philly was nothing special at home last year, over the last five years the Eagles have a 23-16-1 record, rank top-10 against the spread and have a plus-152 point differential at Lincoln Financial Field. On the road they are 18-20-3 vs. the spread with a plus-35 differential during that span.

Coller referenced an article by Adam Kilgore and Neil Greenberg from the Washington Post noting home teams went 137-131-1 in 2021, which is the lowest record since the 2002 season (excluding the 2020 season that didn't allow fans in most stadiums). The Vikings have a .500 record (20-20) since the 2017 season on the road.

Coller added to help adapt to the challenging Philadelphia environment, Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen said they've been mixing in crowd noise at practice.

"From a noise perspective, the harder we can make it on ourselves out there at practice…when you get to that game, it's just kind of like, 'Oh, I've been here before, I've felt this before," Thielen said.

Thielen added with several players on the team who haven't competed in Philadelphia yet, on top of learning a new offense, the Vikings ability to communicate will be critical.

"[The offense is] definitely not ingrained yet because…we haven't played in a loud atmosphere yet," Thielen said. "I think the more we can just practice it, make it tough on ourselves, have the sound even louder than maybe what it will be… then doing some stuff post-practice, doing some stuff pre-practice, in the meeting rooms to really talk about how we're going to communicate certain things and some of the tempo stuff we're going to run."

Coller wrote Head Coach Kevin O'Connell will also have to adapt to the noise in just his second game at the helm, especially since he is the one who relays messages to quarterback Kirk Cousins.

"I think we've formed a real relationship where, it's not only what I'm saying, sometimes – it's how I'm saying it," O'Connell said on his communication with Cousins. "Not every play call sounds the same. I could call the same play and all words can be the same, but the emphasis I put on that at that point in the game, that situation, down-and-distance, he can pick up on that and understand."

Cousins has shown success at Lincoln Financial Field throughout his career. He has recorded a completion percentage of 70.3, completing 135 of 192 passes and averaging 8.5 yards per attempt. He also has 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions with a quarterback rating of 112.1.

S Lewis Cine Ready for NFL Debut Against Eagles

Lewis Cine has been waiting for this moment ever since he heard his name get called in April to conclude the opening night of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Months after being selected 32nd overall by the Minnesota Vikings, the former Georgia Bulldogs safety had to wait just a little while longer to make his NFL regular-season debut, sitting out of the Vikings Week 1 victory with a knee injury.

Tonight, Cine will officially make his way onto the field as the Vikings visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune recently wrote that Cine will have “significant roles” on the Vikings special teams unit led by Coordinator Matt Daniels.

"He'll be a core teamer for us," Daniels said Friday to Twin Cities media members. "Typically how it goes is special teams is like the grooming process for, you know, eventually you'll make plays [and] make plays and the next thing you know I kind of just send him on his way to defense."

View photos of Vikings players showing off their travel day fits as they head to Philadelphia for the Week 2 matchup against the Eagles.

O'Connell said Cine will be put in for kickoff and punt scenarios and possibly on defense, depending on the situation.

Cine hasn't played since the Vikings home preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers on Aug. 20, but said he'll be "wherever I can contribute" on Monday against the Eagles.

Daniels noted Cine is a man of repetition.

"Lewis is a guy that needs the reps," Daniels said. "He can see it on tape and understand it, but for him to fully get it he needs to be on the practice field doing the reps. He's a rep guy."

Cine will be presented challenges in his debut, especially with playing in front of a hyped-up Philly crowd on the road. But Cine said his teammates have let him know what to expect.

"They did mention that the environment is rowdy in terms of the fans," Cine said, "but they all love to play there because their fans are rowdy. I'm real curious to see what that's like."