MINNEAPOLIS -- Without their top two running backs, the Vikings unleashed quarterback Matt Cassel.
Cassel was 14-of-20 for 202 yards and a touchdown to give the Vikings a 17-9 halftime lead. He escaped pressure from linebacker Trent Cole and defensive end Fletcher Cox to deliver a 57-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Jennings in the first quarter. Jennings finished with seven catches for 114 yards and the touchdown in the first half.
Quarterback Nick Foles and the Eagles offense responded at the end of the first half with a 33-yard field goal by kicker Alex Henery, his third of the half, as the clock expired. Running back LeSean McCoy gained 22 yards on a screen pass to get the Eagles in field goal range. The Eagles get the ball first to start the second half.
Cassel completed his first nine pass attempts with a lot of his success coming in the middle of the field which led to the decision to insert Kurt Coleman at safety opposite Nate Allen in the second quarter.
The Eagles had briefly tied the game up when wide receiver DeSean Jackson ran a reverse 18 yards on fourth-and-1 for a touchdown only to have the score wiped away by an illegal peel-back block by Foles. Henery responded by tying a career-high with a 51-yard field goal to make it 10-6 Vikings.
The Vikings answered with a 16-play, 75-yard drive which ended with running back Matt Asiata's first-career touchdown from 1-yard out. Asiata made his first-career start with Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart sidelined with injuries. The Vikings converted four third-down conversions on the drive including a pass interference call against cornerback Bradley Fletcher in the end zone.
The Vikings were also banged up at the cornerback position (no Xavier Rhodes or Chris Cook), but the defensive line has stepped up providing plenty of pressure on Foles and not allowing McCoy to get into a rhythm on the ground.
Foles was 11-of-17 for 144 yards and no touchdowns in the first half. He has taken advantage of the extra attention paid to the wide receivers and tight ends by rushing for a game-high 41 yards. Foles did convert a third-and-11 with a 21-yard run on the Eagles' first scoring drive, which resulted in a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter. Foles also delivered a 17-yard pass to Jackson despite taking a hard hit to extend the drive which led to Henery's 51-yard kick in the second quarter. McCoy has 19 yards on the ground, but 46 receiving yards.
The Eagles employed an interesting keep-away strategy on special teams as Henery has used short kickoffs to keep the ball from getting in the hands of the league's leader in kickoff returns, rookie Cordarrelle Patterson.