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Early Look: Vikings at Eagles

EAGAN, Minn. — The road isn’t getting much, if any, easier for the Vikings this week.

Minnesota (1-2-1) must travel to Philadelphia (2-2) for Week 5, its first rematch against the Super Bowl LII Champion Eagles since the NFC Championship Game.

The game between defending NFC North and NFC East winners will be televised nationally by FOX and kick off at 3:25 p.m. (CT).

Minnesota’s offense bounced back nicely from its Week 3 struggles against Buffalo by scoring on its first possession at Los Angeles in the Week 4 opener on Thursday Night Football.

The problem, however, was that the defense gave up repeated big plays and 38 points to the high-octane Rams, who scored three touchdowns (70, 19 and 47 yards) in the second quarter. Jared Goff, the first overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, completed 26 of 33 passes for 465 yards and five touchdowns for an NFL maximum passer rating of 158.3.

The Eagles are 2-2 after falling 26-23 in overtime to the Titans in Tennessee on Sunday. Corey Davis caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota with five seconds left in overtime after Philadelphia settled for a 37-yard field goal in the extra session. The Eagles led 17-3 midway through the third quarter before the Titans rallied.

A 30-yard field goal with 16 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime.

Here’s a look at the Vikings Week 5 road game against the Eagles:

Passing: Kirk Cousins completed 36 of 50 passes (72 percent) for 422 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 117.2 on Thursday.

It was the second time for Cousins to pass for more than 400 yards in four starts with Minnesota. He’s had two of his top-five passing yards games since joining the Vikings this offseason.

Cousins has thrown for 1,387 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions this season for a passer rating of 103.6. He has been sacked 13 times.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, the second overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, made his second start of the season and completed 33 of 50 passes for 348 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Titans. Wentz’s passer rating was 99.4 against Tennessee.

In two games, Wentz has completed 58 of 87 passes for 603 yards with three touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 93.2. He has been sacked nine times.

Rushing: The Vikings ran the ball 17 times for 54 yards for an average of 3.2 per carry against the Rams that was inflated by Cousins’ 19-yard gain on a scramble.

Dalvin Cook was limited by design after missing Week 3 with a hamstring injury. He rushed 10 times for 20 yards. Roc Thomas gained 4 yards on his first NFL carry. Latavius Murray netted 2 yards on a pair of carries.

Jay Ajayi led the Eagles with 15 carries and 70 yards and caught three passes for 11 yards against the Titans. He has 155 of Philadelphia’s 473 rushing yards and three of their five scores on the ground this season.

Wendell Smallwood has added 123 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, and Corey Clement has 112 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Wentz, who rushed 64 times for 299 yards in 2017, has rushed five times for 18 yards this season.

Receiving:

Adam Thielen led the Vikings with 135 yards on eight catches, which included a 45-yard touchdown, and Stefon Diggs had a team-high 11 receptions for 123 yards against the Rams.

Aldrick Robinson caught touchdowns of 16 and 17 yards in L.A. Kyle Rudolph had five catches for 57 yards, and Laquon Treadwell added four catches for 47 yards.

Murray had two receptions for 16 yards, fullback C.J. Ham totaled 7 yards on two receptions, and running back Mike Boone had a catch that went for 1 yard against the Rams.

Thielen leads Minnesota with 40 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns. Diggs has a team-high three touchdown catches on 27 receptions for 311 yards. Rudolph ranks third on the Vikings with 18 receptions for 188 yards and two scores.

Zach Ertz led the Eagles with 10 receptions for 112 yards, and Alshon Jeffery caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in his 2018 debut. Jordan Matthews had a 56-yard touchdown against Tennessee in his second game back with the Eagles after spending 2017 with Buffalo.

Ertz leads Philadelphia with 31 catches and 327 yards. Nelson Agholor has 25 receptions for 167 yards and a score.

Defense: Head Coach Mike Zimmer was highly critical of Minnesota’s pass coverage after allowing 556 net yards and 456 through the air on Thursday.

The Rams were just 1-for-6 on third downs, but they capitalized too often on first and second downs.

Danielle Hunter recorded Minnesota’s lone sack of Goff, extending his career-best streak of games with at least 1.0 sack to four.

The Vikings defense hasn’t had a takeaway in its past three games, as opponents have recovered the ball all seven times they’ve fumbled it.

Fletcher Cox leads the Eagles with 3.0 sacks on the season. Philadelphia has four takeaways on the season (one fumble recovery and three interceptions).

Special Teams: Vikings kicker Dan Bailey was good from 37, 39 and 40 yards and 2-for-2 on extra points in his second game with the team. Four of Bailey’s seven kickoffs were touchbacks.

Vikings punter Matt Wile averaged 39.8 yards and netted 38.8 on five punts. Long snapper Kevin McDermott left briefly with a finger injury before returning to the game.

Elliott is 6-for-8 on field goals and 8-for-8 on extra points this season.

Cameron Johnston, a rookie from Australia, has averaged 51.5 yards and netted 44.0 on 20 punts. He has five touchbacks and six placed inside the 20-yard line.

Philadelphia is averaging 6.8 yards on punt returns and allowing 5.6 yards per punt return by opponents.

Over The Years

The Vikings are 13-14 all-time against the Eagles franchise, which includes a total of four postseason games (all wins by Philadelphia).

Minnesota has won just one game in its past nine visits to Philadelphia, a 24-14 victory in 2010 that was postponed until a Tuesday because of weather.

Last meeting: Eagles 38, Vikings 7, Jan. 21, 2018, in Philadelphia

The Vikings marched down the field on the opening possession of the game, capping a 75-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Rudolph.

Keenum, however, was intercepted by Patrick Robinson on Minnesota’s second possession. Chris Long hit Keenum’s arm during the pass, and Robinson returned the ball 50 yards for a touchdown that swung momentum toward the Eagles.

Philadelphia turned a seven-point lead into a 24-7 halftime margin with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Jeffery and a 38-yard field goal by Elliott in the final 1:09 of the first half.

The Vikings were 0-of-3 in red zone efficiency.

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