Photo credit: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
The Philadelphia Eagles absolutely destroyed the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game last season 38-7 but boy what a difference a year makes. The Vikings had one of the most notable free agent acquisitions in quarterback Kirk Cousins. That helped Mike Zimmer’s team take the next step offensively and it also looks like Minnesota has surpassed the defending champs. While this game isn’t a huge reflection of how much better the Vikings are because they only scored 23 points. There’s no doubt Cousins adds a whole other dynamic to this NFC rivalry and if you read between the lines that played a bigger role than what meets the eye. Cousins checks off a lot of the boxes when you’re looking for the perfect NFL quarterback. Kirk Cousins threw for 301 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. The two things that stand out are the 300 yards of offense and the 0 interceptions. Those are two major improvements for this organization’s output and Case Keenum failed to crack 300 and turned the ball over twice in that last match up between both these teams. Cousins also brings out the best in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs which has been apparent over these past 5 weeks. Thielen recorded 116 yards and 1 touchdown. Diggs had 10 receptions for 91 yards. If there’s any achilles heel for Minnesota it’s definitely their lack of a running game. However Cousins made up for any deficiencies and that’s what a franchise quarterback brings to the table. Carson Wentz tried to his best to rally Philadelphia by throwing for 311 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions but they didn’t have enough time to capture the lead. Zach Ertz was also a standout for the Eagles he hauled in 110 yards and 1 touchdown. Wendell Smallwood caught the other Wentz TD and added 44 receiving yards. Minnesota held on at the end though and it was an impressive victory. The other big story line in this game was definitely the Vikings defense. They kept Philly in check especially throughout the first half. Linval Joseph had the best game of his career putting up 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, and scoring a huge defensive touchdown along the way. Danielle Hunter was also very tough he registered 2 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 TFL. Doug Pederson’s defense were led by Brandon Graham who had 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 TFLs. Jordan Hicks was also a significant contributor with 9 tackles. Minnesota improves to a 2-2-1 record and they’re hoping to smooth out the kinks moving forward. Make no mistake about it though this was a great win for everyone in that locker room and now they believe they can beat Philadelphia if they see them again in the playoffs.
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Kirk Cousins makes the Minnesota Vikings a better team than the Philadelphia Eagles. Which means things are changing in the NFC power rankings.