One man’s prediction: The Vikings, out of playoff contention, have continued to play hard. But they have injury concerns, highlighted at running back with Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) both questionable. The Eagles have one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. The Vikings defense faces a tough task in trying to contain Philadelphia’s skill players.
On the corner
The Vikings could be in trouble at the cornerback spot. Rookie Xavier Rhodes, who has emerged as their best corner, did not practice all week because of a sprained ankle and is listed as doubtful. Their other starting cornerback, Chris Cook, was added to the injury report on Friday (knee) and is listed as questionable. If neither plays, the Vikings presumably would start Marcus Sherels and converted safety Robert Blanton.
The Vikings might be forced to rely on their passing game heavily with the uncertainty of Peterson’s and Gerhart’s health. Matt Cassel will make his fourth start of the season and second in a row in relief of Christian Ponder, who has recovered from his concussion but will serve as the backup. Cassel is facing the NFL’s 31st-ranked pass defense, but the Eagles have not allowed more than 21 points in nine consecutive games.
This matchup features the league’s top two performers in all-purpose yards. Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy leads the NFL with 1,744 yards, while Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson is second with 1,629 yards. Each player is capable of producing a highlight play every time he touches the ball. Patterson set a career high with 141 yards receiving last week. That total was the highest by a Vikings rookie since Randy Moss had 163 against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day in 1998.
MANO-A-MANO: MATCHUP TO WATCH
Vikings LB Chad Greenway vs. Eagles RB LeSean McCoy
Despite playing half the season with a fractured right wrist, Greenway leads the team in tackles (144) and interceptions (three). The wrist injury has clearly affected his play at times, but he refuses to miss a game.
Leads the NFL in rushing (1,305 yards) after setting a franchise record with 217 yards against Detroit last week. He’s rushed for 150-plus yards in four games this season. No other NFL running back has reached that mark more than once.
Who has the edge?
Greenway described McCoy as a “matchup nightmare” this week because he’s also so tough to defend as a receiver. McCoy is elusive in space and creates mismatches for defenses as a threat out of the backfield.
THE BIG NUMBER
400 Philadelphia has produced 400-plus offensive yards in 10 games. The Eagles can become the fifth team to reach that mark 11 times. New Orleans (2011) holds the record (13).
Sharrif Floyd, Vikings: Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the rookie defensive tackle has displayed “exponential” improvement the past few weeks. Floyd, a Philadelphia native, will be extra motivated to play well against his hometown team.