The Philadelphia Eagles have a huge task when they face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Oct. 13 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on Fox 29.
The contest between the Eagles (3-2) and the Vikings (3-2) could be one of the best games this Sunday.
The Eagles’ defense will have to stop Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who is quietly putting together a Pro Bowl season. Cook is the NFL’s second leading rusher. He has 542 yards on 92 carries. He has scored five touchdowns.
The Vikings drafted Cook in the second round of the NFL Draft in 2017. Actually, the Eagles had shown some interest in Cook, the former Florida State standout, during the draft that spring.
“Yeah, we were close, right there at that time,” said Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. “I just remember going back and watching him coming out in the draft and studying him a little bit.
“I really like his explosiveness, not only with the ball in his hands, but he can catch the ball out of the backfield. There was a lot of explosive plays on his tape. I was really comfortable with him and we were close to pulling the trigger on that one.”
Cook is a good receiver. He leads the Viking with 21 receptions for 200 yards. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is really concerned with Cooks’ playmaking ability as well as the Vikings’ running game overall.
“Well first thing it looks like they’ve clicked the speed of the film up a little bit,” Schwartz said. “They’re making big plays everywhere. It’s not just Dalvin Cook. That rookie [Vikings running back Alexander] Mattison is a good running back; [Vikings running back Ameer] Abdullah. They have four running backs averaging 5.7, 5.8 and 5.9 and then 9.3 [yard] a carry.
“So that will get your attention real quick. We’re a pretty strong run defense. They’re a pretty strong run offense. It’s going to be a great matchup on Sunday.”
Some of the Eagles top players against the run have been safety Rodney McLeod (29 total and 16 solo tackles), linebacker Zach Brown (26 total and 16 solo tackles) and defensive end Brandon Graham (16 total and 12 solo tackles). It’s going to be interesting to see which team can control the line of scrimmage and make tackles in the open field. That’s going to be key for the Eagles.