Maybe it’s just me but … As much as everyone is talking about the “big names” for Sunday’s game in Minnesota, I think some of the “supporting cast,” if you will, is going to make the difference. And here’s the guy I’m zeroed in on: weakside linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. He is still working his way back from the knee injury that sidelined him through three games, but now that Grugier-Hill has his legs under him, I think he’ll build on a terrific spring and pre-injury summer. Nathan Gerry had the big play with the coverage on running back Le’Veon Bell and the 51-yard interception return for a touchdown and he’s still a big part of the defense, but Grugier-Hill played 20 snaps against the Jets on Sunday and could be in line for a bigger role. I could see him shadowing running back Dalvin Cook in space. Grugier-Hill has the athletic skills to do that. Keep an eye on him on Sunday.
Maybe it’s just me but … it’s worth watching that Minnesota is missing two starters from the lineup on Sunday. Right guard Josh Kline (foot) won’t play and neither will weakside linebacker Ben Gedeon (concussion), who is also a terrific special teams player. Minnesota has talent across the board, but the Vikings have had some instability along the offensive line and having to replace a starter isn’t ideal. The Eagles must win at the line of scrimmage to take this game.
Maybe it’s just me but … at some point in this season running back Boston Scott is going to make a difference. Promoted from the practice squad to the active roster on Friday afternoon, Scott is one of those players who just needs the chance to find his way in the NFL. He runs hard, he’s got a good burst, he’s versatile, and he will make defenders miss. In the return game or from the line of scrimmage, Scott is going to get your attention this season.
Maybe it’s just me but … it sure feels like a lot is riding on cornerback Sidney Jones playing well against the Vikings. The best of Jones is yet to come, but he was doing a good job on the field as a starter before the hamstring injury he suffered in Green Bay. Jones impressed head coach Doug Pederson this week in practice with the way he “pushed through” the injury and responded, so let’s hope he carries his practice play into Sunday’s game. The Eagles need him to be outstanding against receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who are both excellent route runners.
Maybe it’s just me but … running back Jordan Howard has been exactly what the Eagles hoped he would be when they made the trade with Chicago in March to acquire Howard. The fourth-year running back has scored five touchdowns in the last three games and he has 17 first downs gained on 53 rushing attempts to lead the NFL in rushing first-down percentage (32.1 percent). Howard has been outstanding against Minnesota as well with 545 yards and three touchdowns on 116 career carries against the Vikings (from Howard’s three seasons with the Bears).
Maybe it’s just me but … I think this is a really good explanation of why the Eagles are so good at stopping the run, courtesy of Minnesota offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, per Vikings.com: “Great combination of scheme and players. They have really good players, and I think the scheme is sound. It’s an attacking style. They get off the ball, they tackle well, they play with great effort. And then the players – you could name every single one of them, honestly – but I think Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, what they bring to the table is really a special group.
“There are some teams that are playing into blocks and reading off your blocks, (whereas) these guys are coming off the ball and attacking gaps and they’re trying to disrupt. We know that, we’ve looked at the film, and we have to be ready to match their intensity.”
Maybe it’s just me but … isn’t it time for Nelson Agholor to get back into the flow of things in the passing game? Agholor has just one reception for 20 yards (against New York) in the last two weeks and has been targeted only four times. He knows his time will come, and Sunday could be one of those moments. Minnesota is going to concentrate a lot on tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. And the Vikings know how much damage Alshon Jeffery can do (he has seven career touchdowns with 724 receiving yards against Minnesota, more than any active player), so why not get Agholor into some favorable matchups and get him involved?