No Adrian Peterson?
No Toby Gerhart?
No Xavier Rhodes?
No John Carlson?
No Chris Cook? (Actually, I should probably just have that on macro.)
No Josh Robinson?
In a final that everybody nobody saw coming. . .up to, including, and especially myself. . .the Minnesota Vikings cooled off the hottest team in the National Football League, as they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles by a final score of 48-30 in the second-to-last game at the Metrodome.
Minnesota opened the scoring with Matt Cassel being red hot, completing his first nine passes in a row. The seventh of those passes concluded the Vikings' second drive of the afternoon, as he found Greg Jennings for a 57-yard touchdown to give the Vikings an early 7-0 lead. The Eagles would answer with a 35-yard field goal to make the score 7-3, and that's how the first quarter ended.
The second quarter saw the Vikings open things up even further. The teams exchanged field goals to make it 10-6 in favor of Minnesota, and then Matt Asiata. . .carrying the mail in the absence of both Peterson and Gerhart. . .scored his first National Football League touchdown, going over from a yard out to make the score 17-6 in favor of Minnesota. Alex Henery added his third field goal of the first half just before the gun, and the teams went into the locker room with the Vikings leading by a score of 17-9.
After forcing the Eagles into a three-and-out to start the third quarter, the Vikings extended their lead even further on a 6-yard run by Cassel to make the score 24-9. A second Blair Walsh field goal made it 27-9, and it looked like the Vikings had some breathing room. However, this being the Vikings, it couldn't be that easy. Nick Foles found DeSean Jackson for a 30-yard touchdown pass to make the score 27-16, and after a Mychal Kendricks interception on a deflected Cassel pass, rookie tight end Zach Ertz reeled in a 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 27-22. The Eagles attempted a 2-point conversion, but the pass was deflected away. Still, Vikings fans had to think that they were watching a movie they had already seen before as the game went to the fourth quarter.
But rather than fold up the tents, the Vikings came roaring back in the final quarter of play. Asiata got his second touchdown of the afternoon from a yard out to make the score 34-22, and then Cassel found Cordarrelle Patterson near the left sideline from five yards out to make it 41-22.
The Eagles weren't quite done, however, as they moved down the field and connected on a 16-yard pass from Foles to Jason Avant to make it 41-28. Philly again went for two, and this time Foles connected with Riley Cooper to cut the lead to 11 at 41-30.
The Vikings recovered an onside kick attempt by the Eagles, and Asiata put the icing on the cake with his third touchdown of the afternoon, this one from five yards out to provide the final margin at 48-30. The win ended Philadelphia's five-game winning streak, and it also eliminated any chance the Vikings would have to get to the #1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Cassel had a huge day for the Vikings, completing 26-of-35 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns, along with an interception. Greg Jennings had one of the best games of his career, with a career-high 11 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown. Jarius Wright also set a career-best with 95 yards on four receptions. The Vikings stayed committed to the run, despite its ineffectiveness, with Asiata carrying the ball 30 times for 51 yards and the three touchdowns.
The 48 points the Vikings put up today is the ninth time in team history that they've put up at least 48 points, and the first time they've done so since the 1998 season, when they had games of 48 and 50 points. The three touchdowns for Asiata also ties a Vikings' franchise record.
The Minnesota Vikings pulled off a huge upset on Sunday afternoon in the penultimate game at the Metrodome, knocking off the Philadelphia Eagles. They travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals next week, and then close out the Metrodome with a game against the Detroit Lions that should have post-season implications for Detroit.
Thanks to everyone for joining us in the Game Thread today, and we'll have more about this one going forward for the next day or two.