Reid guarding against a letdown

The Eagles created NFL history with their comeback on Sunday, but head coach Andy Reid is cautious about a letdown Sunday night against the Vikings.

The Eagles are coming off one of the most emotional wins in franchise history, when they rallied from 21 points down in the final 7 1/2 minutes to beat the Giants on a history-making, walk-off punt return for a touchdown by DeSean Jackson.

It's the kind of win that can propel a team to great heights. But coach Andy Reid, who was brought to tears by the comeback after the game, has been around long enough to know that it's also the kind of win that can set a team up for a big letdown the following week.

"It's very important that we eliminate any distractions that might be there with the holiday and then also with the media attention you get when you come off a game like we did," Reid said Wednesday as he began preparing his team for Sunday night's game against the 5-9 Minnesota Vikings. "Our players need to be focused in."

He's right about the attention. The comeback almost, but not quite, earned the Eagles more air time on ESPN than Brett Favre. Jackson and quarterback Michael Vick, who threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 130 yards and another touchdown, were in demand by just about every national media outlet in the country.

Sunday's win gave the 10-4 Eagles a one-game lead over the 9-5 Giants in the NFC East. Philadelphia needs just one more win in its two remaining games or one more loss by the Giants to win the division.

The potential for a letdown is significant. But Reid's strength as a coach always has been his ability to keep his team on an even keel. It's why the Eagles are one of the league's winningest teams in November and December in the 12 seasons Reid has been the team's coach.

He has reminded the players that the reason they needed a fourth-quarter comeback Sunday was because they didn't play very well in the first three quarters. They fell behind 31-10 as the Giants' Eli Manning became the latest quarterback to use their secondary for target practice, throwing four touchdown passes.

"The thing you know is we didn't play very well for three quarters, and then I thought the coaches and players reached down deep and won the game," Reid said. "Nobody gave us anything. We went and won the game.

"So, it's important that you build on that part, but you better figure out the problems that happened in the first three quarters and get those taken care of and make sure you see those and work on that."

The Eagles are playing a Vikings team that is coming off a 26-point loss to the Bears. Minnesota probably will be without its starting quarterback and maybe its star running back, and it was down to two healthy safeties by the end of the Chicago game.

"I'm proud of the guys," Reid said. "I've been proud of them the whole year the way they've handled themselves and they've gotten better every week. And I think this group has big hearts, and so I appreciate that part.

"But listen, last week doesn't matter for this week. I will guarantee you the Vikings couldn't care less coming in here, what we did last week. That's not what they're thinking about. They're thinking about coming in here and disrupting your world on the 26th (of December). And so, they have an experienced team there, in most positions, so you better be ready to roll."

SERIES HISTORY: 21st regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 11-9. The Eagles have won the past five meetings, including a 26-14 victory in the playoffs after the 2008 season.


  • WR Jason Avant, who suffered a concussion on DeSean Jackson's game-winning punt return Sunday, was a full practice participant Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday against the Vikings. He passed all of the concussion tests and was cleared to play.

  • WR DeSean Jackson was a full practice participant Wednesday. He played last week with a sore foot. He will play this week.

  • OT Winston Justice, who has missed the past two games with a knee injury, returned to practice Wednesday and will start at right tackle Sunday night against the Vikings.

  • KR/PR Jorrick Calvin didn't practice Wednesday because of a sore lower back. It's not known whether there's a possibility he won't be able to play this week.

  • DT Mike Patterson missed practice Wednesday with a sore knee, but he is expected to play Sunday against the Vikings.

  • TE Cornelius Ingram re-signed to the practice squad. He was waived Dec. 16. The oft-injured Ingram previously spent Weeks 10-14 on the team's practice squad. He was a fifth-round draft choice of the Eagles in 2009.

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