The Eagles are in Minnesota to take on the Vikings with kickoff set for 1 p.m. Here is everything you need to know about this game as the Eagles look to preserve their lead in the NFC East ...
1. REPORT: NO PETERSON AND NO GERHART
According to Sean Jensen, a Vikings analyst for K-TWIN, Minnesota players were informed on Saturday night that Adrian Peterson will not play against the Eagles due to the foot sprain he suffered last Sunday against the Ravens. Peterson's backup, Toby Gerhart, is also likely to be sidelined with a hamstring injury.
The Vikings' power run game rests in the hands of Matt Asiata and Joe Banyard, who was just promoted to the active roster on Saturday. Asiata and Banyard have combined for a grand total of three carries for 9 yards in their careers, all coming from Asiata in 2012.
2. THE VIKINGS' PLAYER TO WATCH: CORDARRELLE PATTERSON
Here are the key matchups for Sunday's showdown ...
KR Cordarrelle Patterson and PR Marcus Sherels vs. Eagles Special Teams
Yes, the insane conditions had a lot to do with the Eagles' struggles covering kicks en route to allowing Lions kick/punt returner Jeremy Ross to have a career day and return both a punt and kick for touchdowns. As Chip Kelly said, the accumulated snow on the field negated the collective speed of the coverage teams and the lack of traction made it difficult for players to stay in their lanes.
Nevertheless, Dave Fipp and his charges have quite the challenge ahead of them against the Vikings. Patterson is an explosive weapon with 4.3 speed who can go from 0-to-60 in a split second and is a threat to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. He is averaging a robust 33.3 yards per kick return, which ranks first in the NFL, and has two touchdowns, which also ranks first. There is not a better kick returner in the league at the moment. Sherels is no slouch himself, ranking fourth in the NFL at 13.3 yards per punt return, including one touchdown (which he scored against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football).
If the Eagles coverage units lack discipline even a little bit and veer out of their lanes, Patterson and Sherels can and will make them pay.
LDE Brian Robison vs. RT Lane Johnson
Jared Allen is the obvious spotlight player along the Vikings defensive line. However, Brian Robison has 7.0 sacks on the season and is one of the better pass rushers that no one talks about, mainly because he plays in Allen's shadow. Still, Robison, at 6-foot-3 and 259 pounds, is the kind of pass rusher who can win with speed and power off the edge. He's an explosive athlete with tremendous quickness and has registered a sack in four straight games. Lane Johnson, who has been nothing short of exemplary in both his pass and run blocking since the beginning of November, is on a definite upward trajectory. But he will be tested by Robison.
3. GAMEDAY COVERAGE BEGINS AT 11 AM
FOX will broadcast Sunday's game to a regional audience with Kenny Albert calling the play-by-play and former Cowboys fullback Daryl Johnston providing color commentary. Tony Siragusa will report from the sidelines.
PhiladelphiaEagles.com's coverage begins at 11 a.m. with the airing of our three television shows - Game Plan, Inside The Season and Unscripted. At 12:30 p.m., we will have the Kickoff Show with reports from Mall of America Field. At halftime, Bo Wulf and ESPN's Adam Caplan will analyze the action. Once the final whistle sounds, Wulf and Caplan and former Pro Bowl linebacker Ike Reese bring you recap, analysis and reaction on the Post-Game Show presented by Ricoh.
|Today's Broadcast Schedule|
|11 AM||Eagles Television Network Programming|
|12:30 PM||Kickoff Show|
|1:30 PM (Approx.)||Halftime Report|
|4 PM||Post-Game Show presented by Ricoh|
4. WILL THE EAGLES REMAIN ROAD WARRIORS?
The Eagles are 5-1 away from Lincoln Financial Field this season which is tied with Kansas City for the best road record in the NFL.
Here are some other notes about today's matchup with the Vikings:
• Philadelphia is tied in the all-time series with Minnesota, 12-12
• On the road, the Eagles are 4-6 against the Vikings. At Mall of America Field, the Birds lead the series 3-2
• The Eagles have won five of the last six games against Minnesota,
including back-to-back wins at Mall of America Field
• The Eagles will travel to Minnesota in the regular season for the
first time since 2007 and just the third time in the last 17 seasons
5. FANS CONNECTING WITH FANS
Fans can email gameday photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. These photos will be shared with Eagles fans everywhere and can be viewed on our gameday page as well as PhiladelphiaEagles.com/virtuallinc. Fans can follow the #PHIvsMIN action on PhiladelphiaEagles.com/social, which features all of your favorite social media platforms. Twitter has real-time team updates, Instagram has behind-the-scenes photos and Facebook is a great place to interact directly with other fans.