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NOTEBOOK: Fundamentals, Effort Came Through Against Eagles

EAGAN, Minn. — There were plenty of positives for the Vikings defense in Philadelphia.

After a few uncharacteristic performances to start the season, Minnesota responded by allowing its second-fewest points total of the season in a 23-21 win.

And up until a late Philadelphia drive in which the Vikings went a tad conservative, the defense had allowed its fewest yardage total of the season.

But don’t expect Vikings safety Harrison Smith and his teammates to suddenly start strutting around and proclaiming they’re one of the league’s top units again.

“Those things can change in an instant,” Smith said. “There’s no, ‘Oh, we played good. We’re back.’

“There’s none of that thinking around here,” Smith added.

The All-Pro safety did say he liked the effort and aggressiveness the unit displayed against an Eagles team that had just 91 yards of total offense at halftime, 48 of which came on a single passing play.

Smith pointed to the biggest defensive play of the game, a Stephen Weatherly strip-sack that turned into a Linval Joseph touchdown on a 64-yard fumble return, as an indicator of how the Vikings can play when they’re dialed in.

“I just think we got back to playing fundamental football,” Smith said. “Just running and hitting and plays like Stephen’s sack and Linval scoring … those are effort plays and things you can’t necessarily scheme up playing football.”

With the 1-4 Cardinals on the docket Sunday, Smith said the 2-2-1 Vikings aren’t looking past anyone.

Minnesota already has a sour taste in its mouth after a Week 3 home loss to the Bills, who entered that game 0-2 but waltzed out of U.S. Bank Stadium with a 27-6 win.

The Vikings are coming off a win over the defending Super Bowl Champions and now face an Arizona team that is one of six teams with just a single victory in 2018.

Smith said he expects his teammates to be ready to go at noon Sunday.

“I don’t know if it was a gut check or not,” Smith said of the win over Philadelphia. “Every game, if you don’t bring your best then you’re going to get beat.

“That’s how it is in this league,” Smith added. “Every week, I guess you could consider a gut check.”

Waynes will return Sunday

Trae Waynes is “good to go” for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.

The Vikings cornerback missed the second half of Week 4’s game against the Rams and the Week 5 contest against the Eagles with a concussion.

Waynes expanded on the fact that he’s returning to the lineup.

“I’m coming back this week, so it’s all good,” Waynes said.

The former first-round pick has been nicked up at times this season and has played 135 defensive snaps (41.7 percent) for Minnesota this season.

“It’s football. It’s part of the game,” Waynes said. “Injuries happen, you know? You just have to overcome them.”

Injury reports

For the Vikings: Andrew Sendejo (groin), Riley Reiff (foot), Tashawn Bower (ankle) and Everson Griffen (not injury related) did not participate. Dalvin Cook (hamstring) was limited. Brian O’Neill (elbow), Waynes (concussion), Linval Joseph (shoulder), Kevin McDermott (finger), Marcus Sherels (ribs) and Tom Johnson were full participants.

For the Cardinals: Tre Boston (shoulder), Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring/back), Jermaine Gresham (Achilles), D.J. Humphries (knee), Mike Iupati (shoulder), Robert Nkemdiche (foot) and Andre Smith (hamstring) did not participate. Budda Baker (shoulder), Josh Bynes (wrist), Markus Golden (knee), Corey Peters (elbow), Trent Sherfield (illness) and Jamar Taylor (hamstring) were limited.

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