Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings fumble and stumble their way to a humbling 21-10 loss at Philadelphia

The Minnesota Vikings’ undefeated season came to an abrupt end in a overwhelming 21-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.

The cause of frustration for Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer in Sunday’s 21-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles wasn’t so much that the Vikings lost, it was how they lost.

For a team that had only turned the ball over once in their first five games, the Vikings turned the ball over four times – Sam Bradford threw his first interception as a Viking and the team lost three of the five times they fumbled.

“It was a disappointing day today,” Zimmer said. “I thought we played embarrassing – really, that’s the word – in two phases. I’m very disappointed in the performance we gave today. We turned the ball over offensively. We didn’t block people. We dropped balls. We got the quarterback hit. On third-and-two inches we couldn’t convert on third down or fourth down. We got three shots in the red zone in the first half and we threw an interception. We gave up a 98-yard kickoff return. We fumbled a punt. If you’re going to do those things, you have no chance to win.”

The Vikings had a golden opportunity early in the game when Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was intercepted on by Andrew Sendejo, who returned the pick down to the 2-yard line. But, the Vikings couldn’t cash in, as a false start call on Rhett Ellison backed them up and Sam Bradford threw an interception in the end zone to Eagles safety Rodney McLeod.

Three plays later, Wentz fumbled an exchange that was recovered by Anthony Barr on the Philadelphia 17-yard line. But, on the very next play, Bradford would be stripped of the ball from behind by defensive end Connor Barwin, squandering another opportunity to put points on the board.

When the Vikings finally did score a field goal with nine minutes left in the half to take a 3-0 lead, it was the special teams that laid an egg, allowing a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Josh Huff that gave the Eagles the lead for good. Even the extra point after the touchdown was problematic, as Harrison Smith ran into the kicker and the Eagles opted to move the ball to the 1-yard line and run in a two-point conversion to take a 8-3 lead.

With less than three minutes left in the first half, McLeod came on a blitz and stripped Bradford of the ball, giving the Eagles possession at midfield. That allowed them to pick up a couple of first downs and kicked a field goal in the final seconds to convert the turnover into points and take an 11-3 lead to halftime.

Down 18-3 early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings offense put together their first sustained drive of the game, 14-play drive series. But with a third-and-1 from the 6-yard line, Zach Line was stuffed for no gain and, forced to go for the first down on fourth-and-inches, Matt Asiata got stuffed as well.

The Eagles would take advantage of the Vikings turning the ball over on downs and drive 92 yards, 44 of those yards gained when Marcus Sherels fumbled a punt that was recovered by the Eagles at midfield, leading to a field goal that would seal the deal with a 21-3 lead with six minutes to play.

There wasn’t much that went right for the Vikings. Much like the Eagles did earlier this year at Lincoln Financial Field when they overwhelmed the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3, they took advantage of Vikings mistakes and made plays at all three phases to come away with a deserved win.

As the Vikings look to regroup for next week’s Monday night matchup with the Chicago Bears, they will be sure to hear it from Zimmer because, after what he saw Sunday, it was much easier to point out the things the Vikings did right, because there were much fewer than the things they did wrong.


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