By Peter Gleason
It’s been nine months since the Eagles last played the Vikings at the Linc, and the winner that day qualified for the Super Bowl.
They meet against today at 4:25, and if possible the stakes are just as high for both teams.
“Each week — and (Eagles defensive coordinator) Jim Schwartz mentioned it and it’s true,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson says, “you’re two plays away from maybe being 0-4 and two plays away from being 4-0. That’s how tight this thing really is.”
Coming off its championship season, Philly has won twice at home and fallen twice on the road, last week blowing a 14-point lead to lose in overtime at Tennessee. The defense remains stout much of the time, but fell apart in key spots at the Titans, especially in OT.
“Therefore, with that being said,” Pederson adds, “as coaches we got to make sure we’re doing our part to prepare our players and get them ready for those situations.”
While the Eagles are just a half-game out of the NFC East lead, the Vikings are 1-2-1 and trail Chicago and Green Bay in the NFC North.
Most important, Minnesota must find a running game, ranking last. If Dalvin Cook can get healthy, it would be a huge help.
“It has been difficult,” coach Mike Zimmer says. “We have to be patient with it, No. 1. Honestly, a little bit has been dictated with some of the scores throughout the last couple ballgames. It’s important for us to have balance. It keeps the defensive line from pinning their ears back all the time. I think it helps the football team overall. We just have to do a better job.”