Updated: 3 days ago
As far as Thursday Night Football goes, Vikings vs. Eagles was one of the more entertaining matchups. As a Vikings fan, it's frustrating to see the team continue to self-destruct.
Minnesota was coming off a disappointing 20-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to kickstart the 2023 NFL season, and things didn't go their way in Week Two.
So what went wrong for the Vikings? What needs to happen to have success moving forward? Here are three takeaways from Minnesota's 34-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Offensive Line Struggles Continue
It's hard to protect your quarterback when the guys on the offensive line are dropping like flies.
Starting center Garrett Bradbury was inactive as he continues to deal with a back injury suffered in last week's season opener. Meanwhile, left tackle Christian Darrisaw was active to start the game but didn't see any on-field action.
Fifth-year backup tackle Oli Udoh played 39 offensive snaps before being carted off with a knee injury.
All of the change led to a lot of pressure on Kirk Cousins. The Eagles recorded 10 QB hits, adding to the nine hits Cousins took last week. He was also sacked twice, including one strip sack.
The bottom line? The offensive line needs to play better as a group. The first step would be getting healthy, something that should happen with this 10-day mini-bye before facing the Chargers next week.
Too Many Vikings Turnovers
It was a problem last week and it continued to be a massive problem in Week Two. Players not holding onto the ball and turning it over. Minnesota coughed up the ball on four occasions, and all four went to the Eagles.
The first turnover came from punt returner Brandon Powell, following a great stop by the Vikings' defense. Powell received the punt and carried it to the Eagles 34-yard line before it slipped out of his hands.
On the following Vikings offensive series, it was Alexander Mattison's turn to give the ball away. Philly would take over at the Minnesota 39. A couple of drives later, All-Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson fumbled the ball into the end zone for an Eagles touchback.
And finally, on the opening drive of the second half, Cousins was sacked by Josh Sweat, causing another fumble.
All these turnovers resulted in a total loss of 44% win probability, per Next Gen Stats. The largest drop was courtesy of Jefferson's fumble with a loss of 14.5%.
This game is totally different if Minnesota either doesn't turn it over to begin with or if they get one of the fumbles back. Regardless, the giveaway issue is the leading cause of the Vikings' 0-2 record.
Running All Over
I don't want to trash the defense too much because they did an okay job keeping the Eagles' offense under check. However, allowing 259 rushing yards is unacceptable.
Philadelphia ran 48 rushing plays, including 28 carries to D'Andre Swift. Swift finished the night with 175 yards and a touchdown. Boston Scott recorded 40 yards on five carries, while Jalen Hurts had 12 rushing attempts and 35 yards.
The inability to stop the run cost Minnesota in the time of possession battle, which Philadelphia won 39:28 to 20:32.
I expect Brian Flores to make adjustments in the coming days, which should help slow down Austin Ekeler and the Chargers in Week Three.
Most Vikings fans had this game chalked as a loss when the schedule came out in the spring. Travelling to Philadelphia on a short week against the defending NFC Champions is never an easy task. The fact they lost a winnable game to Tampa Bay last week makes this loss sting even more.
Minnesota will have to get some form of a running game to have success moving forward (the team has 28 rushing yards on Thursday). They'll also have to limit the turnovers and hits on Kirk Cousins. If they don't, the Vikings may hold a 0-3 record next Sunday.
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