Why are fans worried about the Vikings?
Joe Webb's only win as a starting QB remains his 2010 victory over the Eagles. He's since been converted to a wide receiver. (AP)
It was a memorable game -- for all the wrong reasons. The last time the Vikings played the Eagles in Philadelphia, it went very well for the Vikings and not well at all for the Eagles.
That meeting three years ago was delayed until Tuesday because of a massive snowstorm (forever known as the Nation of Wusses game, thanks to Gov. Ed Rendell’s unique, spontaneous, colloquial poetry). The Eagles lost and went into a three-game slide to finish the season with a thud.
“I remember we had to delay the game for like four days and now all of a sudden [the Eagles] can play in a blizzard, huh?” Vikings defensive tackle Jared Allen joked during his conference call this week. “They’re totally different teams, obviously. The schemes are different. Different players. Obviously, it was a good game for us. We were able to come out on top in that game. Tuesday night was unique.
“But I don’t know that we can draw a whole lot of comparisons for this week. [The Eagles] are hot right now. They’re on a win streak. They’re playing good ball. We have a tough challenge ahead of us.”
There are more similarities between the situations than Allen might realize. Three years ago, the Eagles were 10-4 and in first place in the NFC East. The Birds had won three straight and six out of seven going into the season’s penultimate regular-season game against Minnesota. The Vikings were also without one of their best players, quarterback Brett Favre. Minnesota was forced to play backup Joe Webb, who was so awful as a quarterback that he was later converted to wide receiver. Despite all that, the Vikings won.
As the Eagles enter this weekend’s rematch with Minnesota, they’re on a five-game win streak. They’re in first place in the NFC East with three games remaining. And, once again, the Vikings figure to be without one of their best players. This time they probably won't have the services of Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson, who suffered a foot injury last weekend. Toby Gerhart (not Joe Webb) will likely get most of the workload in the backfield (see story).
“Oh, man, it was a rough game for me,” Michael Vick said when asked what he remembered about the 2010 matchup against the Vikings. “I wish we could have started a little faster. It probably would have made a difference in our momentum and trying to get home-field advantage going into the playoffs.
“We played that game on a Tuesday, then we had to turn around and play again on a Sunday night. It just kind of threw off our rhythm a little bit.”
Vick went 25 for 43 for 263 passing yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He added 63 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. That was it for the Eagles' scoring. They mustered just two touchdowns -- while turning the ball over three times -- and lost by 10.
“That was a low point for a lot of us,” LeSean McCoy said. “I was so angry, because we worked so hard that whole year. Mike was amazing that year. Once we lost that game, the season was pretty much over.
“For sure, that was a wake-up call. That was a wake-up call for all of us. Chip is big on that. He’s big on not looking past anybody. Every team, we’re looking at 1-0. Every week.”
At the least, the Eagles and Vikings won’t play on Tuesday this time. And if there are similarities between the situation they faced three years ago and the circumstances this season, they’re merely coincidental. When he was asked if he was worried this might be a “letdown game,” Kelly didn’t seem concerned.
“No, we are just a one‑week operation,” Kelly said. “I literally was thinking of the Vikings game coming off the field on Sunday. What's our next opportunity to go out and see where we are as a team and that's what this deal is all about. I think the teams that are mentally tough can work their way through it and I think we have a mentally-tough group.”