Eagles Inactives vs Vikings, Prediction for Game
The Eagles will be pretty healthy when they travel to Minnesota today to play the Vikings - the Vikings will not, missing five starters including Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) who have been declared inactive for Sunday's Week 15 game against the Eagles.
The Eagles will be missing only one starter, safety Earl Wolff who is missing the game with a knee injury – they hope to have him back next week. Wolff tried to workout before the game, but simply wasn't ready to play this week.
Even with Wolff out, the Eagles find themselves as one of the healthiest teams in the league as they enter the final month of the season.
The Vikings have key, major losses in Adrian Peterson, who is second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,221) while Eagles running back LeSean McCoy leads the NFL with 1,305 rushing yards, and Toby Gerhart who is a big, physical back who could have given the Eagles problems. In their place, Minnesota will lean on Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard and FB Jerome Felton as candidates to carry the ball.
One of the main theme's this week during the show when we previewed this Eagles vs. Vikings match-up was the weak pass defense of Minnesota. The Vikings pass defense is ranked 30th in the league currently and that could mean a big day for the Eagles big-play threats; DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper and Zach Ertz.
Given the current state of the Minnesota quarterback corps, you would think even more weight would be been placed on the shoulders of the Vikings running attack, however, with Peterson and Gerhart both out - much more will be placed on the shoulders of Matt Cassel.
A week after setting the Eagles all-time single game rushing record, LeSean McCoy will be back at it against a Vikings defense that currently ranks 22nd in rushing yards allowed per game. To stop McCoy, the Vikings will also need stand-out performances from mammoth defensive tackle Kevin Williams and middle linebacker Audi Cole, who is making is fourth start. Their biggest weakness against the run has, surprisingly, been Chad Greenway, so look for the Eagles to target him in the run game with McCoy sweeps early and often.
Eagles inactives: QB Matt Barkley, S Earl Wolff, CB Curtis Marsh, RB Matthew Tucker, LB Najee Goode, T Matt Tobin, T Dennis Kelly..
The Vikings’ inactives: CB Xavier Rhodes, CB Chris Cook, TE John Carlson and RG Brandon Fusco, RB Adrian Peterson, RB Toby Gerhart.
The Vikings loss of both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart might just be to much for them to overcome. Matt Cassel is not a vertical, down-the-field threat and without much of a rushing attack - the Eagles defense could challenge Cassel to beat them. In his lone match-up against the Eagles, QB Matt Cassel went 14-of-18 passing for 90 yards and 2 TD passes.
One name to keep an eye on is Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson caught five passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota's Week 14 loss to the Ravens, adding a six-yard rush and 111 yards on four kick returns. Patterson ranks 2nd in the NFL in all-purpose yards and is the only rookie ranking in the top-14 in 2013.
Another big match-up is how with the Eagles interior of the line handle Kevin Williams and Jared Allen – they have the ability to dominate at times and allow Vikings MLB Audie Cole to get a lot of one-on-one tackle opportunities. Cole vs LeSean McCoy could be a big match-up today with Chad Greeway also being a guy the Eagles will target.
One final thing, how will the Vikings poor secondary match-up with DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper? Both have been big-play threats in the passing game and playing in on a artificial surface could lend to a couple of big-plays down-the-field from Foles to his explosive receiving core.
A win here for Minnesota would give the Vikings back-to-back wins against the Eagles for the first time since they won the first seven games of the series (1962-78) and their first home win over the Eagles since 9/28/97.
The Pick: Eagles 34, Vikings 17