Vikings-Eagles game scout

Get the series history, keys to the game and fast facts for the wild card game between the Vikings and Eagles.

Saturday
Indianapolis Colts (14-4) at San Diego Chargers (8-8)
Atlanta Falcons (11-5) at Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
Sunday
Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at Miami Dolphins (11-5)
Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1) at Minnesota Vikings (10-6)

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1) at Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 1/4/09
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: FOX (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver)

SERIES


23rd meeting. Regular-season series is tied, 11-11. Eagles have won both playoff meetings, including a 27-14 win in the ‘04 divisional playoffs. Eagles defeated the Vikings in Minneapolis last season, 23-16.

KEYS TO THE GAME

The Eagles offense is far more efficient when RB Brian Westbrook gets around 25 combined touches in the running and passing games. Philadelphia lacks downfield speed, so it needs the threat of Westbrook's versatility to help complement QB Donovan McNabb.

Eagles LT Tra Thomas didn't allow a sack to Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware last Sunday and will have another critical battle against Vikings DE Jared Allen.

The Vikings have the league's top-ranked run defense and hope to get NT Pat Williams back. If so, Minnesota will be very difficult to run against between the tackle and short-yardage situations have been Philadelphia's Achilles' heel all season.

The Eagles have allowed just 3.11 yards per carry the past seven games and will sell out against RB Adrian Peterson. He had a league-high 20 carries of 20-plus yards and runs behind a very physical offensive line that will test the Eagles' speed-based defense.

Philadelphia will trust CBs Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown in a lot of man coverage, and will have a big advantage if they're able to contain Peterson and put young QB Tarvaris Jackson in long passing situations. The outcome could be determined by Jackson's decision making while on the move against defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's complex blitz packages.

FAST FACTS

  • The Eagles committed just 74 penalties during the regular season, setting a franchise record for a 16-game season.

  • Vikings coach Brad Childress was the Eagles' offensive coordinator the last time these teams met in the playoffs. That also marked Minnesota's last postseason game. The Vikings had upset the Green Bay Packers, 31-17, at Lambeau Field in the opening round of the 2004 playoffs before losing, 27-14, at Philadelphia in the divisional round. That was receiver Randy Moss' last game as a member of the Vikings.

  • The Eagles also beat the Vikings, 31-16, in the divisional round of the playoffs during the 1980 season in Philadelphia. That is the only other postseason meeting between these two teams. Interestingly, Philadelphia has advanced to the Super Bowl both years it has eliminated the Vikings.

  • The Vikings had the definite advantage in the series between the teams early on as they won the first seven games against the Eagles. That stretch started in 1962 and ended in 1978. The Eagles did not beat the Vikings until the 1980 season, when they crushed them 42-7 in a regular-season game at Metropolitan Stadium and then defeated them again in the playoffs.

  • This will mark the Vikings' 25th postseason appearance and the team's 43rd playoff game in franchise history. The Vikings have a combined 18-24 (.429) postseason record. Their 42 playoff games are the sixth most among all NFL teams. Only Dallas (56), Pittsburgh (47), the New York Giants (43), Oakland (43) and St. Louis/Los Angeles (43) have played in more.

  • Twenty-nine Vikings will be making their first playoff appearance, while 24 have either played or been active in at least one postseason game. Fourteen Vikings have started at least one playoff game. Among current players, there have been 87 postseason games played with 38 starts. Safety Darren Sharper has the most playoff starts (six) and kicker Ryan Longwell has played in the most postseason games (10).

  • CB Antoine Winfield had 12 tackles in the Vikings' 27-16 loss at Philadelphia on Sept. 20, 2004. The Vikings played the Eagles twice that season in Philadelphia, including the playoff game.

  • The Vikings finished first in the NFL with 18 touchdowns on plays of 20-plus yards. Of those 18, 13 were via the pass, a total that also tied for first in the league. The team finished third in the NFL with 23 rushes for 20-plus yards, tied for second with five rushing touchdowns of 20-plus yards and tied for sixth in the league with 63 plays of 20-plus yards.

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