The emergence of Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles has become one of the NFL’s most surprising stories this season, but the Vikings say their primary focus lies with the Eagles’ No. 1-ranked running game.
Specifically, LeSean McCoy, who leads the NFL with 1,305 rushing yards.
“This dude is making moves,” defensive end Jared Allen said. “He’s like a human joystick right now. The way he’s running the ball right now, he can really attack anywhere.”
McCoy set a franchise record with 217 yards rushing against Detroit last Sunday. He has rushed for 150-plus yards four times this season, the only player in the NFL to reach that mark more than once.
“Dynamic in every phase,” defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. “Dynamic out of the backfield, dynamic when you have him bottled up. He’s Houdini.”
Much like Detroit’s Reggie Bush, McCoy is tough to corral in space, particularly as a receiver. His 40 catches are second on the team, and he averages 11.0 yards per catch.
“Yeah, that’s fun,” linebacker Chad Greenway joked about having to cover McCoy out of the backfield. “He’s unbelievable. Reggie Bush-like. I think he’s got different skills than Reggie. But just a matchup nightmare.”
Priefer accepts blame
Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer’s weekly news conference began with a question about Baltimore kick returner Jacoby Jones.
“Do we have to start with that?” Priefer asked. “I knew it was coming.”
Jones scored on a 77-yard touchdown with 1:16 left last Sunday off a mortar kick, which the Ravens expected. Baltimore’s players were shifting before kicker Blair Walsh booted the short kick close to a sideline.
Priefer confirmed it was a similar alignment to the one the Vikings used recently against the Chicago Bears on a kick to Devin Hester to start overtime. And it’ll be the last time they use it this season, Priefer said.
“They read it perfectly,” he said. “They did a good job. I got outcoached on that play, unfortunately. We didn’t execute it well enough.”
Priefer didn’t want to put the ball on the ground because the previous kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Ravens the ball at their 40. Priefer said Walsh has the ability to make an adjustment before his kickoff if he sees a team expecting a certain kick.
Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) missed a second day of practice. Coach Leslie Frazier said he hopes both will be able to do some work Friday. Peterson, who suffered a foot sprain, has done only pool rehab this week.
“Everything that he’s done has been in a pool so it would be premature for me to suggest that [him playing Sunday] is possible,” Frazier said.
Tight end John Carlson is still experiencing concussion symptoms so he’s not been cleared to practice. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and right guard Brandon Fusco (knee) also did not practice.
“I’m hoping that we’ll get Brandon out there [Friday],” Frazier said. “Xavier will be touch and go. We’ll know more [Friday]. That’s a big day for all those guys.”