By Conor Perrett
In tonight’s second installment of Monday Night Football previews, I’ll be diving into a sneakily exciting Eagles vs Vikings match-up.
These two teams look to be offensive heavy teams this coming season that will look to pile the points up, but both go about it in different ways.
Tale of the Tate
First things first, I’m a man that loves the off-season and I’ll hereby like to award the Philadelphia Eagles with ‘Conor Perrett’s Off-season MVP.’ Howie Roseman you can expect your award in the post and please give me a call if it doesn’t arrive.
Now that’s out of the way, I can get to work.
Every team builds differently, and in total honesty there never is a right or wrong way in doing so. But the way the Eagles have built in the last couple of years, just so happens to be the way I think is right.
And that approach is… just adding talent. Now that sounds very generic but sometimes being simple is the right way. We see loads of situations where teams try to be unique and start to overthink picks with positional value or decide against turning a good unit into the best unit just because it’s already a strength, when the simplest most obvious solution is looking them in the face. But the Eagles don’t do that. We already have a Heisman winning receiver? Who cares, let’s add AJ Brown. Top 5 O-line? Meh, add an Alabama guard to that and make it even better.
Now before I hype this Eagles squad up too much, and they lose heavily whereby I look like an idiot, there are some things I don’t like. Nick Sirianni doesn’t really strike me as a head coach that will lead a team to war, but also doesn’t look like an offensive genius that will outsmart his opponent. Now he can always prove me wrong, but I have question marks on the ceiling of where he can take this team.
Finally Jalen Hurts also falls under that bracket. I’m on record to say I like how the Eagles have built with the idea of building the team first. But when looking at QB’s there are two types. Ones that you win with and ones you win because of. Hurts is in that grey area in the middle where he has the potential to ‘win because of’, but on the other hand, also has consistency problems and limitations to stop him from being that unquestioned leader.
All coaches view the game differently and that point couldn’t be clearer with the head coach change Minnesota made earlier this year. For the last eight years the Vikings have been a defensive-orientated team under Mike Zimmer, but with the recent change to former Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell they’ve switched to the other side of the ball. And that change couldn’t be clearer as they rank 2nd in offence under DVOA’s metrics after the first week.
Just like how Cooper Kupp broke out last season under O’Connell, many are expecting the same for one-half of the ‘Griddy Brothers:’’ Justin Jefferson. After his Week 1 performance, we could be seeing that, when the wide-out posted a scoreline of nine receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Not too bad of a way to start when the expectation of a Cooper Kupp season is on your shoulder.
The Vikings were one of the bigger shocks of Week 1. Many didn’t know what to expect from them this season, after clearing house and bringing in new people to run the organisation from top to bottom. Along with an overhaul on defence, there were question marks all over. Some of these questions got answered to us when they dominated the Packers and embarrassed Aaron Rodgers.
We still need to see how consistent this defence can play throughout a season, but we know this offence is going to cause head-aches left, right and centre for opposition teams when facing a mind like O’Connell’s with Jefferson and Dalvin Cook in his armory.
Both teams go into this matchup fairly healthy, pointing towards signs of a back and forward shootout between two top offences.
Now, how they go about it will be interesting to see. Vikings balanced the run and pass well, slightly leaning towards the latter with the weapons they have. But when you possess the talent of Dalvin Cook in the backfield, it’s only going to open up more rushing lanes for him if the pass game is doing its thing.
On the other hand, the Eagles tend to lean more towards a rushing-first mindset. They have one of the best O-lines in the league, so winning at the point of scrimmage and opening gaps for Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts to run through never really goes wrong for them. While adding AJ Brown to the outside means the defence has to choose whether to stack the box and gain an extra man in the run game, or give help to defensive backs over the top against such a top outside receiver. For example, the Detroit Lions last week chose option one, leading to Brown getting 155 yards off of 10 receptions.
In my opinion, Minnesota has the advantage at QB, RB, WR and offensive mind to nip the Eagles in that department.
As for defence we haven’t seen a lot from either so I don’t know what level they can perform to. The Vikings have had an overhaul, while Philadelphia and made it another point to strengthen through the summer months. Adding folks like national champion Georgia Bulldogs’ Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean alongside James Bradberry makes me think they’re the stronger unit.
Now this game is going to be a shootout and I, for one. am excited to watch. I am high on both teams, and think they could end the season maybe meeting in the playoffs again. But when stuck on a close call I’m always going to fall back on two questions. First, the better QB and second, the better coach. And with that said I think Cousins and O’Connell win when it comes to that department.
Eagles 30-31 Vikings