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Vikings Fall to Eagles in NFC Championship

PHILADELPHIA — An early turnover turned momentum, but it was just part of a night of several uncharacteristic elements for the 2017 Vikings on Sunday in the NFC Championship.

Minnesota scored on its opening possession when Case Keenum found Kyle Rudolph for a 25-yard touchdown, but that trip to the end zone was the end of the good vibes for the Vikings.

The Eagles scored 38 unanswered points, including 10 in the final 1:09 of the first half and seven more on the opening drive of the second half in what became a 38-7 win that is sending Philadelphia to Super Bowl LII.

The Eagles will play the New England Patriots on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Jaguars 24-20 Sunday.

Nick Foles completed 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns, racking up a passer rating of 141.4, and Philadelphia converted 10 of 14 third downs against a Minnesota defense that limited opponents to a 25.2 rate in the regular season.

Keenum, who only threw seven interceptions in 2017, was picked off twice and suffered a forced fumble during a strip sack by rookie Derek Barnett. He finished 28-of 48 passing for 271 yards with one score and a passer rating of 63.8. 

Jerick McKinnon led the Vikings with 86 yards on 11 receptions, and Stefon Diggs totaled 70 yards on eight receptions.

The deficit took away Minnesota's opportunity to have a balanced attack. The Vikings rushed 18 times for 70 yards.

Four Eagles had at least one reception of 35 yards a piece. Zach Ertz caught eight passes for 93 yards on eight targets, and Alshon Jeffery totaled 85 yards and two scores on five receptions. Torrey Smith had five catches for 69 yards, and Nelson Agholor added 59 yards on three receptions.

Foles completed a 53-yard touchdown pass to Jeffery for a 21-7 lead, albeit on a third-and-10, and stalled Minnesota's ensuing drive at midfield to force a punt from the 47.

The offering from Ryan Quigley, who didn't have a touchback all season, bounced into the end zone and gave Philadelphia the ball at the 20.

Philadelphia was able to drive 60 yards in 29 seconds, thanks to completions of 11 and 13 to Jay Ajayi that bookended a 36-yard reception by Ertz and enabled a 38-yard field goal by Jake Elliott for a 24-7 halftime lead.

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

A little bit of trickery helped Philadelphia find another big play — a 41-yard touchdown pass from Foles to Smith — and a commanding 31-7 lead with 10:05 left in the third quarter.

The Vikings opened with three straight rushes, before Keenum found Murray for an 11-yard pass on his first throw. Murray gained 6 on the opening snap and rushed for 2 more before Jerick McKinnon converted Minnesota's first third down with a 2-yard run.

Keenum also had a 12-yard completion to Adam Thielen along the Vikings sideline before the scoring strike to Rudolph.

The Eagles evened the score at 7 on a 50-yard interception return by Patrick Robinson. Chris Long was able to use a speed rush to get to Keenum and hit the quarterback just before the throw that was intended for Thielen. Robinson was able to make his way completely across the field, from the Eagles sideline to the Vikings on the score.

Philadelphia took a 14-7 lead with 13:37 left in the first half on an 11-yard run by LeGarrette Blount that capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 6:20. The Eagles converted third-and-10 with an 11-yard pass from Foles to Ertz and a third-and-1 with a 6-yard completion from the QB to the TE.

It was the 10th appearance by the Vikings in an NFL or NFC Championship.

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