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Vikings-Eagles Notebook: O-fer on Early Opportunities Looms Large

PHILADELPHIA -- The Vikings left Lincoln Financial Field with an empty feeling after spending too much of Sunday empty-handed.

Minnesota fumbled five times, losing three and committed its first interception of the season in a 21-10 defeat, the first loss of the year for the Vikings.

It appeared that the Vikings were positioned to capitalize on field position created by two turnovers that twice gave Minnesota the ball in the red zone, but the Vikings followed the advantageous position with two turnovers of its own.

Andrew Sendejo's interception of Carson Wentz and return to the Philadelphia 2-yard line went to no avail when the Vikings followed with a gain of 1, a penalty for minus-5, an incompletion and the first interception of Sam Bradford's run with the Vikings.

Anthony Barr recovered a fumble by Wentz to end The Eagles ensuing possession and start the next Vikings drive at the Philadelphia 17.

"You get two turnovers and are on the 2 and don't score, that's terrible football, and the offense needs to pick our (stuff) up," Alex Boone said.

Connor Barwin, however, forced a fumble by Bradford during the first of six sacks on the day by the Eagles.

"We could have had a real good chance to put some points on the board, get up on them and have them chase us, but we didn't take advantage of the opportunities our defense gave us with turnovers," Jerick McKinnon said. "It was costly. We haven't turned the ball over all year until today, and it showed. They took advantage of their turnovers versus us, and they scored points and came off with the win."

The Vikings made a third trip to the red zone late in the third quarter on a pass from Bradford to Stefon Diggs. They followed with a direct snap to McKinnon out of the Wildcat formation for a gain of 6, but McKinnon suffered an injury on the final play of the third quarter.

A gain of 3 by Matt Asiata on second down set up third-and-1, and the Vikings tried a run with Zach Line that was stopped.

Asiata had no room to roam on fourth-and-1 either, and the stop protected an 18-3 Eagles lead.

"It wasn't even a yard," Brandon Fusco said. "I think it was a couple of inches, and we didn't get it. That's kind of how the game went for us.

"The expectation for us is three-to-four yards per carry, so when you can't get half a yard on a play, it's frustrating, Fusco added.

Defense continues impact

The inability to capitalize early in the red zone by the offense undermined another strong day by the defense.

In addition to picking off Wentz twice, the Vikings limited him to 16-of-28 passing for 138 yards and a rating of 52.4.

Minnesota didn't allow more than 39 receiving yards by an Eagles player and held Philadelphia's run game to 3.9 yards per carry in spite of giving up its first 20-yard run by an opponent during a carry by Ryan Mathews, who led the Eagles with 56 yards on 14 carries.

Xavier Rhodes forced a fumble by Mathews in the fourth quarter and intercepted Wentz in the first quarter. Rhodes' second interception of the season capped a crazy run of five turnovers by the teams in a span of 11 plays.

"It was definitely kind of strange," Harrison Smith said. "Balls on the ground, balls picked off – I don't know if I've ever seen that many just in a game."

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Eagles on Sunday.

Through the wind

A stiff, 20-mph wind out of the west with stronger gusts may have contributed to errant passes and even a couple of drops by players on both teams.

Blair Walsh ripped a 48-yard field goal into the wind, but his ensuing kickoff traveled 63 yards and was returned 98 for a score by Josh Huff. Walsh put the ball out of the back of the end zone when the wind was at his back for a touchback.

Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis kept the ball away from Cordarrelle Patterson by recording touchbacks on all five kickoff attempts, even culturing one through the wind in the fourth quarter.

Kearse steps in

Sendejo's second interception of the season wasn't without a cost. He suffered an ankle injury when he was tackled and was sidelined for the rest of the game.

Rookie Jayron Kearse filled in for Sendejo, often playing in the deep middle of the defense in his first significant action on defense.

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