MINNEAPOLIS -- Third-string running back Matt Asiata tied a franchise record with three rushing touchdowns and the Minnesota Vikings hammered the Philadelphia Eagles, 48-30 at Mall of America Field on Sunday.
Asiata's third score, with 1:08 left in the game, salted away a Vikings victory that was secure for most of the second half. The loss by the Eagles put their NFC East lead over the Dallas Cowboys in peril and made next Sunday night against playoff hopeful Chicago a weighty primetime game.
A team with little to play for, missing two running backs, both starting cornerbacks, a guard and two tight ends, whipped a team in the middle of a playoff race.
Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel threw for 382 yards and two scores and ran for one himself. Cassel got the Vikings off to a strong start, then he led the team on a game-clinching 54-yard scoring drive that gave the Vikings a 34-22 lead early in the fourth quarter. The 48 Vikings points represent the second most allowed by the Eagles this season.
Wide receiver Greg Jennings caught career-high 11 passes for 163 yards and a score. Asiata, playing in place of the injured Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring), rushed for just 51 yards as the Vikings (4-9-1) snapped a five-game winning streak.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles threw for 428 yards and touchdown passes to wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10 catches, 195 yards), tight end Zach Ertz and slot receiver Jason Avant. Foles was often under pressure and inaccurate in the first half. Running back LaSean McCoy, who entered the game as the league's leading rusher, finished with 38 yards on eight carries.
Up 17-9 at the half, the Vikings forced a punt to open the third quarter. Cassell hit Jarius Wright deep down the right sidelines two plays later for a 42-yard completion to the Eagles' 8. Cassel ran in from six yards to put the Vikings ahead 24-9.
Philadelphia's next possession ended when cornerback Shaun Prater intercepted Foles. The Eagles' next drive ended at the own 25 after a failed 4th-and-one attempt.
The Vikings tacked on a Blair Walsh field goal before the Eagles came to life.
Foles led a quick 70-yard scoring drive that ended with Jackson hauling in a 30-yard pass. With the ball right back, Foles hit all three passes for 45 yards, the last a 3-yard toss to Ertz for a one-handed grab with 15 seconds left in the third quarter. Foles' two-point conversion pass failed, and the Eagles were within 27-22.
Cassel calmly responded with the game-winning drive.
In the face of consistent pressure, and with his top two running backs out with injuries, Cassel led multiple-play drives on each of the Vikings' first-half drives. He hit his first nine passes, completing 14 of 20 passes for 202 yards in the process.
Cassel's 57-yard touchdown pass to Jennings - which came after he had to double-clutch to avoid pressure - gave the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.
NOTES: Eagles rookie S Earl Wolff missed his fourth game since hyperextending a knee against the Packers Nov. 10. He practiced during the week, but was limited and listed as doubtful on the team's injury report Friday. Patrick Chung started in his place. Reserve LB Najee Goode (hamstring) was also inactive. ... The Vikings were without their top two running backs Sunday. Adrian Peterson (foot sprain) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring), listed as questionable on the Vikings' injury report Friday, were inactive. It was the first start Peterson had missed since late in the 2011 season. Matt Asiata made his first start in Peterson's place. Peterson has five career three-touchdown games. ... Also out were starting CBs Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and Chris Cook (knee). Rhodes, a rookie, had been listed as doubtful Friday, while Cook was a surprise addition to the injury report late in the week, listed as questionable. Two other starters were out for the Vikings' offense: TE John Carlson (concussion) and RG Brandon Fusco (knee).