A pair of NFC teams with playoff aspirations and intentions of starting winning streaks will meet on Sunday in Minneapolis when the Vikings host the Philadelphia Eagles. These two teams – and fan bases – know each other well, so there will be no love lost for three-plus hours while these teams do battle.
Here are five Vikings-Eagles storylines to watch this week.
1. A rivalry renewed
The Vikings and Eagles do not share a division, but they share a rivalry nonetheless. The two clubs have faced one another 28 times in their history, and after Sunday’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium they will have played once in each of the past four seasons. The Vikings won the most recent matchup – a 23-21 triumph at Lincoln Financial Field in 2018. But it was the Eagles who won the most notable game between the two when they topped Minnesota in a 38-7 landslide win in the NFC Championship Game following the 2017 season. That win earned the Eagles a berth in Super Bowl LII, which was played at U.S. Bank Stadium. All of this history, particularly the recent events, has morphed this NFC matchup into a downright bitter rivalry that will have U.S. Bank Stadium rocking on Sunday.
2. Cook keeps rolling heading into Week 6
There aren’t many players in the NFL on a roll like Dalvin Cook is on a roll right now. The third-year back had 218 yards from scrimmage in last week’s Vikings win, rushing for 132 yards on 21 carries and hauling in six receptions for 86 yards. It was hardly a lighting-in-a-bottle performance. Cook enters Week 6 ranked No. 2 in the NFL in rushing yards (542) and ranked No. 2 in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (742). He is just 74 rushing yards shy of setting a single-season high for his career and his 2,106 yards from scrimmage trails only Adrian Peterson (2,228) and Chuck Foreman (2,107) in Vikings history for total scrimmage yards in a player’s first 20 games.
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Eagles.
3. Matchup of elites: Vikings DL vs. Eagles OL
You can argue the Vikings boast the NFL’s best defensive line. You can also argue the Eagles boast the NFL’s best offensive line. There’s no arguing these two groups will go at it with each other on Sunday and the matchup will be intriguing to watch. All five of the Eagles starting linemen were on their Super Bowl LII-winning team. The Vikings, meanwhile, go four deep at defensive end and can kick a couple of them inside in sub packages, plus they are four deep at defensive tackle and have been one of the NFL’s better run-stopping groups in 2019.
4. Old nemesis Jordan Howard back on Vikings radar this week
The Eagles are discovering what the Mike Zimmer-led Vikings know all too well…that Jordan Howard is a good back who is capable of shouldering the load. The Viking are familiar with Howard because they played against him twice per season from 2016 through 2018 when he was a member of the Chicago Bears. In those six contests, Howard had 20-carry, 100-yard games three times and he scored three rushing touchdowns. Philadelphia signed Howard this offseason but they went into 2019 with a quality stable of backs and were intent on spreading the ball around. Recently, though, word out of Philadelphia is Howard may become more of a bell cow.
5. Banged up Eagles secondary eying return of one key player
The Eagles have a lot of talented players in their secondary. Unfortunately for them, some of those talented players are out with injuries at the moment. Jalen Mills is on the Reserve/PUP list. Cre’von LeBlanc is on the Reserve/Injured list. And Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox all missed last week’s game. The good news is Jones, a 2017 2nd-rounder, is expected to return this week. The timing for his return is good for the Eagles as they get set to face a talented pass catching duo in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen plus a quarterback in Kirk Cousins who is coming off a two-touchdown, 300-yard passing outing.