Vikings-Eagles game plan

For all the similarities in personalities and the close friendship between Brad Childress and Andy Reid, you might believe they think similarly on offense. Not so.


You would think that with Vikings coach Brad Childress going against his former boss, Eagles coach Andy Reid, this game might be like looking in a mirror for these two teams.

Childress and Reid are both offensive-minded coaches. And considering they spent seven seasons together in Philadelphia – Childress was the offensive coordinator for his last four seasons with the Eagles – you would think they share many of the same philosophies.

This is not true.

Childress is a firm believer in establishing the run first and then passing the ball. He loves nothing more than to grind it out, and Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson is pretty good guy around which to center his attack.

Reid, meanwhile, is a pass-first coach and much prefers to see Donovan McNabb throw the ball. Reid mixes in running plays; Childress relies on them.

The Vikings certainly aren't going to go away from this formula on Sunday, especially with Tarvaris Jackson making his first playoff start at quarterback. Jackson might take a few deep shots for wide receiver Bernard Berrian, but that will be only to loosen things up for the ground attack.

The Vikings and Eagles also have different philosophies on defense. Eagles coordinator Jim Johnson will send numerous blitzes at Jackson – the Vikings got a taste of this last week against the Giants. Vikings coordinator Leslie Frazier will blitz some, but mainly he likes to get pressure from the front four.

The Vikings are going to have to be very aware of Eagles running back Brian Westbrook coming out of the backfield. Failure to contain Westbrook could mean a quick playoff ouster for Minnesota.


Jim Johnson confused the hell out of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo last week with his multitude of coverages and blitzes. He wants to do the same thing this week to Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson, but he knows that first his defense must neutralize NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson. The Eagles held Peterson to 3.5 yards per carry last season by swarming to the ball and giving the initial tackler help on Peterson, who is as good a tackle-breaker as there is in the league.


  • LB Chad Greenway is likely to get tested by an Eagles passing attack that relies upon running back Brian Westbrook to turn short catches into big plays. The entire Vikings linebacker corps will have to be sharp, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the Eagles go right at Greenway, who at this point is better in run support than he is in pass coverage. Westbrook caught 54 passes this season for 402 yards and five touchdowns.

  • RB Adrian Peterson is going to have to have a big day for Minnesota to advance, and that means he's going to have success against Eagles defensive tackles Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley. Of course, the Vikings offensive line is going to have to be sharp vs. the Eagles front four, but Peterson also is going to have to show patience and wait for holes to develop. That might be easier said than done for a Pro Bowl running back who will be playing in his first postseason game.

  • CB Cedric Griffin has been sharp in the second half of the season, but he could get a tough test in this one if the Eagles match him up against rookie receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson had a team-leading 62 receptions for 912 yards and two touchdowns this season. The 5-10, 175-pound Jackson has lightning-quick speed and is a threat to get past either Griffin or fellow cornerback Antoine Winfield. Safety help almost certainly will be required from Madieu Williams and Darren Sharper to keep him in check.

  • Vikings DE Allen has 14.5 sacks. Eagles LT Tra Thomas shut down Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware last week. Will Thomas be able to do that again?

  • Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe has seven touchdown catches and is averaging 14 yards per reception. It will be up to Eagles SS Quintin Mikell and WLB Akeem Jordan to contain him.

  • Viking Update Top Stories