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Early Look: Vikings at Eagles

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings are one win away from Super Bowl LII.

Minnesota played one of the most memorable games in franchise history Sunday as the Vikings topped the Saints with a dramatic 29-24 win, as Stefon Diggs' game-winning touchdown catch sent U.S Bank Stadium into a frenzy.

The Vikings will now look to get back to work as they prepare for Sunday's NFC Championship game in Philadelphia.

The Eagles moved on in dramatic fashion as Philadelphia's defense made a late goal-line stand to preserve a 15-10 win over Atlanta on Saturday in the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs. 

Here's an early look at Sunday's NFC title game, which is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. (CT):

Passing: Vikings quarterback Case Keenum completed 25 of 40 passes for 318 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Saints. He had a passer rating of 85.2 in his first career playoff start.

Keenum went 11-3 as a starter during the regular season, throwing for 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles completed 23 of 30 passes for 246 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions against the Falcons. He had a passer rating of 100.1.

Foles, who became the starter late in the season after Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL, completed 57 of 101 passes (56.4 percent) for 537 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions during the regular season. He had a passer rating of 79.5.

Rushing: Latavius Murray led the way on the ground Sunday, rushing for 50 yards on 19 carries, while Jerick McKinnon added 34 yards on eight carries. Both players found the end zone on the ground.

Murray led the Vikings with 842 yards and a team-high eight rushing touchdowns this season. He overcame a slow start to produce a pair of 100-yard games and consistent attack down the stretch. McKinnon scored a career-high three times on the ground and added 570 rushing yards.

Minnesota finished 2017 ranked seventh with 122.3 rushing yards per game.

Philadelphia ran for 96 yards and a score on 32 carries against the Falcons. Jay Ajayi had 54 yards on 15 attempts, and LeGarrette Blount had 19 yards and a score on nine carries. 

Blount led the Eagles with 788 yards while scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Ajayi, acquired in a midseason trade, had 408 rushing yards and a score, while Corey Clement had 321 rushing yards and a team-high four rushing touchdowns.

The Eagles ranked third in rushing with 132.2 yards per game during the regular season.

Receiving: Diggs placed himself in Vikings lore when he tiptoed down the sideline for a 61-yard touchdown reception as time expired. The Vikings wide receiver finished with six catches for a game-high 137 yards and a score.

Adam Thielen had six receptions for 74 yards, and Jarius Wright had three catches for 56 yards. Kyle Rudolph had five catches for 28 yards.

Thielen produced the best season of his career, and one of the top seasons in Vikings history. The first-time Pro Bowler and Second Team All-Pro selection hauled in 91 catches (seventh-most in team history) for 1,276 yards, a mark that ranks as the ninth-best for a single season by a Vikings wide receiver. The Minnesota native also had four touchdowns. 

Diggs also had a solid season with 64 catches for 849 yards, including a 173-yard performance in Week 3 against Tampa Bay. Diggs had eight touchdown catches, which was tied for the team lead with Rudolph, the Vikings tight end who had 57 catches for 532 yards.

Alshon Jeffery led the Eagles with 61 yards on four catches Saturday, and Ajayi had three receptions for 44 yards. Tight end Zach Ertz had 32 yards, and Clements had 31 yards through the air.

Ertz led the Eagles with 74 catches for 824 receiving yards and had eight touchdowns, which tied for second on the team with wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who had 62 catches for 768 yards.

Jeffrey had a team-high nine scores, and added 57 catches for 789 yards. Torrey Smith had 430 yards, and Trey Burton had five receiving touchdowns.

Defense: The Vikings pitched a shutout in the first half against New Orleans, then held on late to snag a victory.

Minnesota's defense gave up 358 total yards, the most at home all season, and allowed a season-high 24 points at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings were stout on third downs, limiting New Orleans to just two conversions on nine attempts (22.2 percent).

Everson Griffen had a sack for the Vikings, while Andrew Sendejo and Anthony Barr had their first career playoff interceptions.

The Vikings produced the best defense in the league — and one of the best in franchise history — during the regular season. Minnesota ranked first in points allowed (15.8), the first time it had done so since 1970. The Vikings also allowed the fewest yards per game (275.9), the team's best mark since 1993.

If that wasn't enough, Minnesota also had the best third-down defense in NFL history (the stat started being tracked in 1991). The Vikings allowed just 51 conversions on 202 attempts (25.2 percent).

Philadelphia allowed 281 yards of offense to Atlanta. Fletcher Cox, Nigel Bradham and Rodney McLeod had sacks for the Eagles.

Brandon Graham led Philadelphia with 9.5 sacks on the season. Cox had 5.5 sacks. Chris Long and Derek Barnett had 5.0 sacks apiece.

Patrick Robinson led the Eagles with four picks, and Jalen Mills, McLeod and Ronald Darby each had three.

The Eagles ranked fourth in both points (18.4) and yards allowed per game (306.5). Philadelphia was the NFL's top rushing defense at 79.2 yards per game.

Special Teams: Vikings kicker Kai Forbath made two of three field goal tries against New Orleans and hit both extra points. His 53-yarder gave Minnesota the lead with just under 90 seconds left in regulation.

Forbath made 32 of 38 field goal tries in the regular season, including six makes from 50-plus yards.

Punter Ryan Quigley averaged 31.8 yards on four punts and had one partially blocked in the fourth quarter. He did not record a touchback in the regular season.

Marcus Sherels gained 19 yards on his lone punt return against the Saints. He averaged 9.5 yards per punt return with a long of 46, and averaged 24.6 yards per kickoff return in the regular season.

Eagles kicker Jake Elliott made his three field goal tries Saturday, including a 53-yarder at the end of the first half. He made 26 of 31 field goals during the regular season.

Punter Donnie Jones averaged 41 yards on three punts and landed two of them inside the 20-yard line. He averaged 45.3 yards per punt in the regular season.

Both Minnesota and Philadelphia did not score on a kickoff or punt return for a score in 2017.

View exclusive images shot by the team photographer (IG: vikingsphotog) from the Oct. 23 game against the Eagles.

Over The Years

Minnesota and Philadelphia are tied at 13-13 in the overall series. The Vikings are 13-10 in the regular season against the Eagles but are winless in three tries against Philadelphia in the postseason.

The Vikings lost to the Eagles in the playoffs during the 1980, 2004 and 2008 seasons. 

The Vikings started red-hot in the series, winning the first seven matchups between the teams. Philadelphia lost just once in 10 tries from 1989 to 2009, but the Vikings have won two of the past three battles in the series.

 

Last Meeting: Eagles 21, Vikings 10, Oct. 23, 2016, in Philadelphia 

The Vikings entered the game with a 5-0 record and were coming off a bye as the NFL's lone undefeated team.

Things quickly turned sour against the Eagles as Minnesota committed four turnovers, gave up six sacks, allowed a kickoff return for a score and scored just one touchdown on four trips in the red zone.

The Vikings took a 3-0 lead in the second quarter but promptly allowed a 98-yard kickoff return for a score. The Eagles tacked on a field goal in the second quarter and then scored first in the third quarter to eventually build a 21-3 lead.

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass in the final minute to cut the lead to 21-10.

Bradford threw for 224 yards and was under pressure for most of the day against his former team. Matt Asiata led the Vikings with 55 yards on 12 carries. 

Minnesota's defense limited the Eagles to just 239 yards and forced four turnovers, including takeaways on three straight first-half possessions. Sendejo had a pick, and Barr recovered a fumble before Xavier Rhodes snagged an interception.

The Vikings fell to 5-1 on the season in what was the start of a four-game losing streak. Minnesota finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

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