‘Seven Heaven’ Sends Vikings to Philadelphia
(973espn.com) - It will forever be known as the "Minnesota Miracle," the first walk-off touchdown during regulation in NFL playoff history.
Case Keenum's 61-yard desperation heave to Stefon Diggs came on something Vikings' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has dubbed "seven heaven" because when you hit the the seven route (a deep corner in this instance) something heavenly happens.
Shurmur's thesis was proven on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LII, and an environment that reached 118 decibels on Sunday according to NFL officials, far greater than the noise level of the jets taking off at nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul International.
In this case heaven for the Vikings is a trip to Philadelphia and Lincoln Financial Field and the hell that is Jim Schwartz's defensive front.
If the Vikings weather that storm they get to be the first team in league history to play the big game on their home turf.
A Super Bowl berth on the line is usually the only narrative that matters but there is so much connecting these teams, starting with the quarterbacks, former teammates and friends Nick Foles and Keenum.
The Eagles of course originally traded Foles to the then-St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford before the 2015 season in the ultra-rare swap of starting quarterbacks. Foles, however, lost his job to Keenum with the Rams while Philadelphia and Howie Roseman eventually drafted Carson Wentz and spun off Bradford to Minnesota after Teddy Bridgewater's catastrophic leg injury before the 2016 campaign.
The Vikings signed Keenum to backup Bradford back in the offseason and the Eagles did the same by bringing back Foles to caddie for Wentz.
Knee injuries to Bradford (now Keenum's backup after rehabilitating and being activated before the divisional playoff win over the Saints) and Wentz gave each a chance at glory on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
You got all that?
"I know Case real well," Foles said earlier this month. "I was there with him for that year . Doesn’t surprise me with the success he’s having. He obviously has a very good team."
Meanwhile, the guy who called "seven heaven" to get the Vikings to Philadelphia (Shurmur) was a long-time Eagles assistant under Andy Reid, as a tight ends and offensive line coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator, and came back to be the OC again under Chip Kelly. He's also got the best winning percentage as a head coach in Philadelphia history after taking over as the interim coach when Kelly was fired (1-0).
You even have the brother angle as Mychal Kendricks' talented younger sibling is Vikings' star Eric Kendricks while Philadelphia defensive tackle Beau Allen, a Minnetonka native, can tell you how to navigate the Twin Cities if the Eagles actually get there.
Let the fun of NFC Championship Week begin.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen