The Minnesota Vikings face off against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.
With both teams at 1-0 and coming off of a big win against an NFC North opponent.
Going into the game, there are a lot of interesting storylines and things to know. Here are the five most important ones heading into Monday night.
Jalen Reagor returns to Philadelphia
Dec 21, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor (18) makes a catch against the Washington Football Team during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
After the Philadelphia Eagles selected Reagor at 21st overall, things did not go as planned. They wanted the star receiver to become a speed demon on the outside and in the open field. That didn’t come to fruition. It also didn’t help that the Minnesota Vikings selected Justin Jefferson just one pick after.
The Vikings traded two picks for the much-maligned wide receiver who will be going into his former home stadium as the Vikings starting punt returner. It is still unknown whether Reagor will be involved in the offensive gameplan but a small subpackage of plays would make sense.
The Eagles are dynamic in the running game
Sep 11, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) runs with the football and is chased by Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker III (21) and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (44) in the second half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
The Eagles offense is so successful due to their running game. Not only do they have a dynamic quarterback Jalen Hurts but they go three deep in the backfield with Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott. Against the Detroit Lions, each one of those four scored a rushing touchdown.
They accomplish a successful rushing game in a myriad of ways. They run zones, counters, power and RPOs to accomplish their diverse rushing attack. With three really good weapons on the outside, the Eagles now have a balanced attack that will only help the running game see lighter boxes.
The Eagles front four is excellent
Dec 21, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) walks off the field after win against the Washington Football Team at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Even though they lost Derek Barnett to a torn ACL and signed Janarius Robinson off of the Vikings practice squad, the Eagles defensive front is a monster.
Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat as the starting four is a really good unit. They have the ability to stuff the run along with rushing the passer inside and out. The addition of Jordan Davis will only help their depth and ability to be dynamic.
The Lions were able to take advantage of the interior in the rushing game when Davis was not in the game as he only played 22 snaps. The key to the Vikings success will be running zone plays against this front and protecting on the interior in the passing game which will be a challenge.
The Vikings receivers could have issues getting open
Detroit Lions receiver DJ Chark catches a touchdown pass against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay in the fourth quarter at Ford Field, Sept. 11, 2022.
Nfl Philadelphia Eagles At Detroit Lions
The Vikings were able to take advantage of a talented Packers secondary by utilizing the “Illusion of Complexity” and showing different looks for the same plays. This will continue to be a trend for the Vikings but they are going up against a really talented secondary.
After adding Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the offseason, they have him and former Vikings draft pick Marcus Epps on the back end with Darius Slay, James Bradbury and Avonte Maddox at cornerback. Even though Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon isn’t a disciple of Vic Fangio, he is trying to run that quarters style of defense. Figuring out how to exploit the secondary will be key.
The running game is the Eagles defense's kryptonite
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikins running back Dalvin Cook (4) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
While they are good as a pass-rushing unit, their run defense is something that shows a flaw within this defense. On Sunday against the Lions, they allowed 181 rushing yards including a staggering 9.6 yards per carry to D’Andre Swift over 15 carries.
The Vikings should be able to exploit that with Dalvin Cook. Running zone plays and counters will be the easiest ways get away from the interior of the defensive line and keep them guessing.