Danielle Hunter’s fourth-quarter sack on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz helped put away the Vikings’ 38-20 win on Sunday, but it also brought the 24-year-old Hunter into the NFL record books.
It was the defensive end’s 46th sack, giving him the most sacks in league history before turning 25 years old.
Hunter has two more games, including Sunday at Detroit and Oct. 24 against Washington, to pad his NFL record before his 25th birthday Oct. 29. The record was previously held by Robert Quinn (45). Hunter surpassed other big names, including Hall of Famer and ex-Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas (43.5 sacks), former Colt Dwight Freeney and ex-Ravens pass rusher Terrell Suggs.
Hunter is outpacing his peers, as there isn’t an active under-25 NFL defender near him in sack total. The closest are currently the Jaguars’ Yannick Ngakoue (31.5) and the Chargers’ Joey Bosa (31.5).
Fake field goal stopped
Safety Anthony Harris saw Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert leak out of Philadelphia’s field goal formation for a pass from kicker Jake Elliott near the end of the second quarter. The Eagles’ fake field goal attempt, which ended in an Everson Griffen interception, was thwarted by Harris, who deflected the Elliott pass while smothering Goedert in coverage.
“Philadelphia is a team that is not afraid to take chances,” Harris said. “For me, it was knowing where my coverage was. I saw the snap go directly to the kicker and it was eyes on our coverage and try to break up the pass.”
Pulling out all stops
Coordinator Kevin Stefanski matched Eagles head coach Doug Pederson’s aggression with some trick plays of his own, including a reverse to receiver Stefon Diggs, who picked up 10 rushing yards with quarterback Kirk Cousins as his lead blocker. Diggs later looked to throw after taking a reverse handoff from Adam Thielen. He instead gained eight yards on a run.
“We’ve actually carried those plays through training camp,” Cousins said. “They’ve been in and they just haven’t gotten dialed up yet. It goes back to there was clearly the mind-set, ‘Hey, let’s be aggressive today. Let’s not leave any on the call sheet,’ and I think that showed in the way the game was called.”
Line weathers injuries
The Vikings’ protection was “pretty darned good,” according to coach Mike Zimmer, who liked what he saw despite the offensive line missing two of its starters by the second half. Guard Dakota Dozier made his third start Sunday, replacing right guard Josh Kline (foot). Left tackle Rashod Hill replaced Riley Reiff midway through the game after Reiff suffered an ankle injury.
“They did well,” Zimmer said. “Their defensive line is a team that’s going to come off the ball and attack you, and like I said during the week, we’re going to have to come out and attack them. I thought we did that well.”
The Eagles started the game without six contributors, including receiver DeSean Jackson and cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Avonte Maddox. They ended the game missing left tackle Jason Peters, who exited with a knee injury in the first half, and linebacker Nigel Bradham, who suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter and did not return.
The Vikings deactivated two linebackers in Ben Gedeon (concussion) and Kentrell Brothers (wrist/hamstring) due to injuries. Rookie Cameron Smith, a fifth-round pick out of USC, was active for his first NFL game.