The Vikings were faced with a third-and-11 at the Eagles' 47-yard line with 8:23 remaining in the game. The Eagles had cut the Vikings' lead to 17-14 on their previous drive and were hoping to get the ball right back.
Rookie quarterback Joe Webb took the ball out of the shotgun. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott dialed up a zone blitz and rushed six. Cornerback Joselio Hanson came in free, but couldn't get there in time. Webb delivered a dart down the middle that was hauled in by wide receiver Percy Harvin for a 19-yard gain.
Two plays later, running back Adrian Peterson punched the ball from 1 yard out for the game's final points. Hanson said the missed opportunity on third down "was the biggest play of the game."
"I came free and he just made the quick read and a great throw," said Hanson, who replaced Dimitri Patterson in the second half. "If we could have gotten that stop, we could have given the ball back to the offense and had a better chance of winning."
Harvin ended up being covered by linebacker Jamar Chaney. The first read for Chaney was the tight end, who stayed in to block. Once Chaney read that, he went out to cover Harvin and Webb took advantage of the matchup.
"You can't just pinpoint one play," Chaney said.
The Vikings were 6-of-13 on third downs, but none of them were bigger than that one.
"If we could have just made that last third down play, it would have really helped us out a lot," Hanson said. "We didn't make it and they did. It was tough. We have a couple of days to shake this off then play the Cowboys."
The Eagles end the regular season this Sunday at home against Dallas. Philadelphia is locked in as the No. 3 seed for the NFC playoffs and will host the No. 6 seed during wild card weekend.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:45 a.m., December 29