The Minnesota Vikings are headed into Philadelphia to take on the hated Eagles in what should be a high intensity game. Apart from their nasty fans, the Vikings will also have a few other challenges to deal with when the game officially starts.
TJ Hockenson vs. Eagles Linebackers - Considering that TJ Hockenson is a top 4 maybe even top 3 in the league, Hockenson should be able to out man the Eagles linebacking core. The Eagles starting linebackers are Cunningham and Elliss who aren’t exactly household names so Hock should be able to have his way. Especially since Justin Jefferson is expected to be followed by Darius Slay, the Eagles top defender, and then possibly another safety over the top, Hock should find gaps to sit in or beat his man in coverage.
Justin Jefferson vs. Darius Slay - At this point, I’m taking JJ over everyone. Give me the best receiver lined up against anyone you can find and JJ is going to win. Slay is a great corner, but not the best. JJ is a great receiver, and he just may be the best. As long as Jefferson sees a few one-on-one looks against Slay, I like his odds.
Addison vs. Dobe or Maddox - Similar to Jefferson, Addison is already flashing to be one of the greats! Jobe, PFF grade 51.2 and Maddox, PFF grade 53.4, should be no match for the young rookie receiver. If Justin Jefferson draws the Eagles best corner in Slay and possibly a safety over the top, Addison is going to be left alone one-on-one with one of their other two corners, and again, Addison should have the ability to win those matchups. It’s the EXACT reason why he was drafted, to take pressure of JJ in big games.
Not So Favorable Matchups:
MN Interior Offensive Line vs. Eagles Defensive Line: The Philadelphia Eagles have constructed their defensive line to be one of, if not the best defensive line unit in all of football. Scary thing to think about is that they will be going up against the backup center in Schlottman and two suspect guards, Cleveland, and Ingram. Kirk Cousins could be in for a long night if the Vikings don’t figure out their pass protections accordingly. Look for a lot of screens, and quick passes to try and avoid that Philly pressure.
Jalen Hurts vs. MN Defensive Line: The Vikings defensive line struggled to pressure Baker Mayfield in week one, so going against Jalen Hurts could be a whole lot worse. Hurts’ ability to not only scramble, but improvise and make throws down field to their talented duo of receivers is second to none. If Danielle Hunter and company cannot contain, and ultimately pressure Jalen Hurts, we will be getting hurt badly tonight.
Devonta Smith vs. Young Vikings Corners: I would expect to see Byron Murphy following around the Eagles top receiver, AJ Brown, so it will be up to the young guys in Akayleb Evans and Mekhi Blackmon to lock up the opposite side of the field. Devonta Smith has an eerily similar play style as Vikings rookie Jordan Addison both of which use their sneaky speed, quickness, and technical route running to create separation. The young corners will have their hands full with Smith, just hope it’s not a hand full of his jersey because the Vikings were flagged way to many times last week and lead to the eventual demise of week one.
As the Vikings and Eagles clash under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football, the viewers will be treated to a spectacle of skill and strategy in this big week two matchup. We discussed the potential favorable and maybe some not so favorable matchups for this Vikings team going up against a fierce nemesis, but remember that this is football and anything can happen.