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Vikings at Eagles Week 2 Rehash

The Vikings have time to rest from playing two games in five days, but they'll have some climbing to do on the other side of the bye week.

We're continuing the new day-after-game content series to take a deeper look at stats, include more fans' thoughts and add some quotes from Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell.

But the Week 2 installment begins with a statement from the team regarding hate speech and racial slurs that were sent to Alexander Mattison via social media after the game. Mattison posted about the vitriol he received on his Instagram account. The team announced the following statement on Friday:

We are sickened by the hatred and racial slurs directed toward Alexander Mattison following last night's game. There simply is no room for racist words or actions in sports or society. The Vikings will continue to fight to eliminate hate, to educate and to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community that respects and values our unique backgrounds.We stand with Alexander and all players who, unfortunately, experience this type of ignorant and prejudicial behavior, and we ask our fans to continue to fight to eliminate racism.

The NFL also posted the following statement on Twitter:

O'Connell spoke with Twin Cities media members on Friday afternoon and described what Mattison received as "unacceptable and offensive messages."

"I want to first and foremost express my support for Alex, someone that I deeply, deeply care about in our locker room amongst all of our players, but having a chance to speak to Alex today, wanting to check in with him and see how he was doing," O'Connell said. "I know this is not just an isolated incident just from last night for Alex, and just other professional athletes alike. I just don't see that there's any place for it.

"Racism has no place, regardless of how upset someone may be with fantasy football output or a player's performance," O'Connell added. "It is just unacceptable in any way, shape, or form really in our society, but especially in regards to the treatment of professional athletes and our players. I'm fully behind Alex, and I know his teammates are as well, and this organization is as well. He knows that we're going to do all that we can to support him."

There's not really a transition from that to recapping a football game, but here we are to rehash the Vikings 34-28 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia.

View game action photos from he Vikings vs. Eagles Week 2 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Next Gen Stats

Wide open space

There were a couple of instances where Philadelphia lost attention toward K.J. Osborn. On one play a defender was incredibly late getting over to cover him at the line of scrimmage, but the ball wasn't snapped before the defender made it over.

Osborn averaged 6.35 yards of receiver separation from defenders. The league average is 2.94, and Justin Jefferson averaged 1.98 on Thursday, for what it's worth.

Those numbers ballooned more on Osborn's 10-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.

According to Next Gen Stats, there were 15.5 yards of separation from the nearest defender, the most on a touchdown thrown into the end zone since 2021. NGS pointed out that the Eagles were in a Cover 3 zone, but Darius Slay wound up running with Jefferson. Slay, Terrell Edmunds and Josh Jobe wound up triple teaming Jefferson after he ran the crossing route combo with Osborn.

Shadow approach

Jefferson faced Slay on 34 of his 46 routes (73.9 percent shadow rate) and finished with seven receptions for 88 yards on eight targets when Slay was the nearest defender.

In rhythm

NGS defines throwing the ball "in rhythm" as releasing a pass between 2.5 and 4.0 seconds of the snap. All four of Cousins' touchdowns were thrown in rhythm, tying the most by any QB in the NGS era.

He's now thrown 114 touchdowns in rhythm since 2016, which is 15 more than any other player.

Defensive approach

According to NGS, the Vikings sent six or more pass rushers 11 times but only rushed three defenders and dropped eight players another 11 times.

The "Drop-8 rate" of 40.7 percent was the highest in an NFL game since Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores was the head coach of the Dolphins had a rate of 56.7 percent in Week 17 of 2019.

And the 40.7 "max-blitz rate" (six or more rushers) was the highest in a game since the Browns in Week 3 of 2017 (40.7 percent).

It was a good plan of mixing things up, but four Vikings turnovers resulted in too many opportunities for the Eagles, who possessed the football for almost 40 minutes.

Snap Counts

Jefferson, Cousins and four Vikings offensive linemen — RT Brian O'Neill, RG Ed Ingram, C Austin Schlottmann and LG Ezra Cleveland — played all 58 offensive snaps for the Vikings.

Osborn was on the field for 56, and T.J. Hockenson for 50. Mattison played 44 snaps, and Jordan Addison was on the field for 40.

Olisaemeka Udoh started at left tackle in place of Christian Darrisaw, playing 39 snaps before an injury that resulted in him being carted off the field. David Quessenberry played 19 snaps at left tackle in relief of Udoh.

Safeties Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynum, as well as cornerback Byron Murphy, Jr., played all 77 defensive snaps for the Vikings.

Cornerback Akayleb Evans left briefly but returned quickly and played 73 snaps. Linebacker Jordan Hicks and outside linebacker Danielle Hunter each played 72 snaps.

Linebacker Ivan Pace, Jr., played 61 snaps as the Vikings implemented a 3-3-5 formation at times. Brian Asamoah II was in for 14 snaps.

Outside linebacker Marcus Davenport, who was listed as questionable before the game because of an ankle injury, made his Vikings debut but left the game after four snaps.

From the Inbox

I'll try to include a wide array of perspectives in this space. Much attention was directed toward four turnovers committed by the Vikings, as well as disappointment in the offensive line and run game over the first two weeks.

I remain amazed at how terrible the Vikings continue to be at finishing the first half and starting the third quarter — on both sides of the ball. My biggest takeaway for the game is even more turnovers and more missed opportunities. Here are my 3 Ups and 3 Downs for the game:

3 UPS:

1. Nice TD in the second quarter. We managed to overcome the negative momentum caused by the early back-to-back turnovers.

2. Defense looked strong early. I liked the pressure on [Jalen] Hurts and our interception.

3. Our game plan was sound on both sides. We overcame significant adversity with the turnovers and how the third quarter started with two quick Eagles touchdowns.


1. Eagles second scoring drive — our defense couldn't stop the run at all. The QB sneak for the TD epitomized the entire drive; we knew it was coming but couldn't stop it.

2. Three first half turnovers. First, back-to-back fumbles by the Vikings in the first quarter. Followed by the third fumble turnover out of the end zone that cost us either 3 or 7 points and directly led to an Eagles field goal for either a 6- or 10-point swing for the Eagles. Just yet another absolutely disastrous end of the first half for the Vikings.

3. The Eagles ran the ball almost at will. It was very painful to watch. Especially the last Eagles TD in the fourth quarter when it was a one score game — our defense couldn't get off the field when it mattered most and give Kirk a chance to win the game. Just like last week against the Bucs.

Overall, another very disappointing outing. Looking forward to the Chargers. Maybe we can put together a well-executed game against them.

— Respectfully, Jeff Ludwig

It seemed hard to imagine an end of the first half and start to the second half going worse for Minnesota than in Week 1, but Week 2 said, "Step aside."

The Vikings failed to put up points with less than a minute remaining in the first half, despite being in scoring territory, because of the fumble at the goal line by Justin Jefferson. Bad went to worse when the Eagles did run the ball at will — and somehow quickly enough to drive 37 yards in 30 seconds, leaving four seconds on the clock and enabling a 61-yard field goal by Jake Elliott.

Two plays into the third quarter, the Vikings lost the football on a sack fumble, and two plays after that, the Eagles led 20-7 after two short runs.

Momentum swung violently in that part of the game.

It seemed like the first quarter for both teams would have failed a field sobriety test, but the score was just 3-0 Eagles heading into the second quarter after two Minnesota fumbles and an interception and missed field goal for Philadelphia. The Vikings did some good things defensively from a schematic and execution point early in the game, but the group was just on the field way too frequently during the turnover frenzy.

There was a good bit of resolve shown by the Vikings, who have now dropped consecutive games in a regular season for the first time under O'Connell.

It was disappointing that the defense couldn't put together a stop on the Eagles after the offense took a 7-3 lead. Instead, the Eagles drove 75 yards to reclaim the lead on their next possession. They ran the ball 13 times for 63 yards during the possession.


Kevin O'Connell, you are breaking my heart. I see a champion level football team that just shoots itself in the foot, over and over. (Last year also.) You did a very good job in penalty control with less flags, but you must find a way to stop the turnovers. You, the Minnesota Vikings, should have won the Eagles game, easy.

A word of caution. Last year you took the whole season to correct the defense coaching problem. Do not wait to fix the problems you have this year. Get other offensive linemen. Kwesi, spend the money; we are close to a winning team.

If a team starts running the ball and continues to march into the end zone, without a stop, it's time to change the defense. Add run-stopping players to the roster. Linebackers could be the weakness in that case.

What are the best ways to end turnovers, fumbles and INTs?

— Gill Sorg in New Mexico

Anyone who made it out to training camp saw periods of practice where the Vikings worked on ball security. DAILY. Coaches swiped at footballs carried by offensive players, and defenders often worked on knocking the ball free because O'Connell understands how important the football is.

He spoke on the matter at length on Thursday after the game and again on Friday. Here's his full answer to a question about how the team intends to improve its ball security.

"It's going to be additional time on the field, which is something we already do. You guys have seen that throughout the different phases of training camp and spring, and even the game-week preparation, but we're going to do more of that and then also really challenging our look teams defensively to go at the football any chance you can. Punch, hammer, rake, try to get that ball out and simulate what we're seeing in the games," O'Connell said. "A lot of these, Brandon Powell's and Alex's first, really first and second fumble, the second one was erased by a penalty, but both of those were really going to the ground where ball security tends to be something you can be great at all the way through the down, off-hand cover in traffic, five points of pressure, but when you do go to the ground, the natural feel is to maybe brace yourself or possibly not know where that extra defender is coming in at the last moment.

"I know in Brandon Powell's case, that's his first fumble in his football career carrying the ball, so not something where you say to yourself that's an ongoing thing with that player, but it's now a team thing," O'Connell added. "It's now every time you hold the football, whether you're a quarterback, receiver or tight end, a running back, punt returner, kick returner, you're holding the livelihood of our organization in your hands and that needs to be justified with how we go about our preparation for these games. Like I told you guys last night, that's a huge thing on me to make sure I'm delivering the message not only to our team but our coaches and how we're coaching that up across our staff and absorbing that as players."

The Vikings reduced their penalties from Week 1, but turnovers are so crucial to success.

Minnesota definitely could have won that game, but visiting Philadelphia at any point, for a night game, and the Eagles home opener (for the second straight year, no less) isn't easy. That's the defending NFC Champions who came close to winning it all in February and returned nine starters on offense.

That's a tough and talented team, but the cough-ups enabled the Eagles to play the game on their terms.

During roster cuts, the Vikings opted to trade reserve tackle Vederian Lowe for a sixth-round pick next year, so naturally their depth at tackle has taken a severe hit in the first couple of weeks of the season. Christian Darrisaw tried to turn around on a short week, but he had an aggravation of the ankle injury he suffered in Week 1 and did not play.

Olisaemeka Udoh started in Darrisaw's place, but he suffered a quadriceps tendon injury that O'Connell said will sideline him the rest of the season. Veteran David Quessenberry, who was added in late August, relieved Udoh.

O'Connell said the team is optimistic about having Darrisaw back for Week 3 and will continue to evaluate Garrett Bradbury, who left the Week 1 game early because of a back injury.

"We'll see how he handles some treatment over the weekend and see what his practice participation can look like next week," O'Connell said. "But, I would say that it's a real possibility for Garrett to have a chance to go next week."

The Vikings used some 3-3-5 concepts — we just had a Mailbag question about that defense — with three down linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs.

Marcus Davenport started but played so sparingly (four snaps), that we don't know how much he would have helped. It seemed like D.J. Wonnum made some nice plays, incorporating his college experience against teams that use zone reads.

The Vikings had a little bit lighter personnel in for the first part of the 16-play drive, and when they subbed in, it was too late.

View pregame photos of the Vikings ahead of their Week 2 game vs. the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field

Vikings at 0-2 is believable. Let us count the ways …

The Vikings showed us how to improve. They said losing a one-score game with three turnovers was impressive. They went one better. They showed they could lose a one-score game with four turnovers. They are headed for an 0-3 start when they host the Chargers an offensive machine. Maybe they can lose a one-score game with 5 turnovers. There is no way playing like this they are going to the playoffs. They will be lucky to start 2-6 with their schedule. It wouldn't surprise me if they start the year 0-6. Get ready for a good draft pick.

— Bill K. (Vikings fan since 1965) from Maysville, North Carolina

Minnesota was a road underdog for multiple reasons, and I didn't count that one in the win column when I made my informal predictions (I do this yearly when the schedule is released but don't publish — I had the Vikings at 1-1 through this point, but if you had said minus-three in turnovers in each game, my prediction would have been 0-2). Instead of being fixed, the turnover problem from Week 1 spilled into Week 2.

We've pointed out a few times how difficult the Vikings first seven games are based on 2022 results (five playoff participants in the first seven games, including three of the four conference championship game participants).

Opponents aren't going to feel sorry for the Vikings if Minnesota fails to correct its issues with ball security.

The Eagles were prime to be had, but three areas impacted a favorable outcome.

1) ball security

2) the O-line

3) negative plays on first down

No. 1 & 3 can be corrected by coaching, but the Achilles heel is the O-line. For the love of Kirk, get some O-line help! Trade the draft. Just do whatever it takes to get a dominant O-line!

Otherwise, this is going to be a long season, and it will be memorable for all the wrong reasons.


— John S. in St. Albert

The Vikings banked on returning continuity and the offensive line group taking a step forward together, but quick injuries during Week 1 pulled the rug out from that being the case so far.

The Bucs and Eagles have strong defensive fronts, but O'Connell said that's no excuse.

"To me, we've got to do a better job [of running the ball]. We've got to do a better job of coaching it. It's on me. We've got to go back to work and find ways to run the football. Whatever personnel grouping we feel like gives us an advantage," O'Connell said. "We've got to get more connectedness upfront. We've got to be able to attack certain fronts when looks present themselves, and just continue to hunt to be efficient because it's not a good formula. Especially when you're putting the ball on the ground, but it's not a good formula to play like that when, as confident as I am in our pass game, it's just not going to sustain."

So, release Dalvin Cook for nothing in return. Through two weeks, we see how that's working out. Bottom line, teams come into games feeling like we're soft and we're not doing anything to show any different. We won't sign Dalton Risner for whatever, even though it's clear Ed Ingram isn't the answer. Turnover after turnover seems as though we only want to beat ourselves. As a diehard fan, at what point does this team and organization actually want to win at a high level. We seem to be getting outcoached every game so far. At what point do we actually want to win and win convincingly so we actually look like a formidable opponent?? I understand it's early and we can go on a streak, but this is just sad to watch.

— Chambord Barker

The Vikings were hoping to have a more efficient running game this season instead of the famine, famine, feast that seemed to be a large part of last season when Cook would get bottlenecked for no gain or a loss but rip free for a long touchdown.

Once the scoreboard got lopsided with help from the turnovers, the run game went out the window. Minnesota finished with nine rushes, compared to 44 passes by Cousins, who also was sacked two times.

I thought the Vikings defensive plan was really good in taking away some things from the Eagles, but Philadelphia essentially had too many bonus possessions and wore down the group.

Despite some of the best skill position players and today's high-flying era, winning at the line of scrimmage remains important to winning the scoreboard. The Vikings will try to correct the things that have been problematic beyond the turnover-palooza.

I am exhausted, out of breath and won't be able to focus [Friday] at work due to this team that we call Vikings. Most likely, my wife will divorce me because the Vikings are successful in bringing the worst out of me. Should I just give up on Vikings and throw my hands up in the air?

— RJ, Disappointed Vikings fan from North Carolina


*This was an incredibly disappointing game. How can we have such a horrible turnover rate? How do we maintain hope? *

I have been a Vikings fan for years. They constantly disappoint. I am exhausted of being a fan.

— Suzie Bexell


Eagles game. Unwatchable.

— John Madvig in Spearfish, South Dakota

Let's just say I understand about it being difficult to get through work the day after a Vikings loss. At the same time, football is a game, a form of entertainment highly dependent on humans doing exceptional things. The older I get, the more appreciation I have that some of my biggest mistakes have not occurred in a stadium filled with people or been broadcast in households across the country.

When the Vikings Legends were in town in Week 1, one of the questions I had was why 1972 was so bad (7-7), compared to 1969-71 when the team was 35-7 or 1973-76 when the team was 45-10-1 in regular season games.

The 1972 team was the only squad that didn't finish the season with a positive point differential of more than 100 points from 1969-76.

Even though that group finished plus-49 in scoring differential and had 26 interceptions (against 13 thrown) and 26 fumble recoveries (compared to 13 lost to opponents), that squad never seemed to get what it needed when it needed it or suffered a mistake at the worst possible time.

Right now, the Vikings are minus-9 in scoring and minus-6 in turnovers — and have lost the ball at the opponent's 2-yard line or closer before halftime in both games!

The bad is outweighing the good, but if Minnesota can reduce those turnovers, some of the other elements the Vikings have can lead to wins.

There's still quite a bit of football remaining, but Minnesota has to make the most of having its mini-bye so early in the season to come back in Week 3 and get a win against the Chargers.