It’s over, Vikings fans. The Eagles force-fed the last dose of a 15-day supply of icky-tasting medicine Monday morning when these final questions of Super Bowl LII were presented to winning coach Doug Pederson:
“Is Carson Wentz still your starting quarterback? Will you have an open competition in training camp? And can the Super Bowl MVP go back to being a backup?”
Wentz is the Eagles’ injured second-year franchise quarterback drafted No. 2 overall. The Super Bowl MVP is Nick Foles, the backup who won a shootout with Tom-freaking-Brady by throwing for 373 yards and three touchdowns while also catching a touchdown pass on perhaps the greatest trick play in Super Bowl history.
And, yes, both are under contract for 2018.
“I knew I couldn’t get off this stage without that question,” said Pederson, wearing an Eagles “World Champions” baseball cap and standing next to the Lombardi Trophy sandwiched between an Eagles helmet and a Super Bowl LII logo helmet.
“You know what,” Pederson continued, “we’re just going to enjoy this moment. We’re going to get on this plane, go back to Philadelphia and celebrate with our fans back in Philly.
“I’m happy for Nick. I’m happy for the team. It’s not about one guy. It’s about the team. Like I said, we’re going to enjoy these next few days.”
I wouldn’t read too much into that answer. Earlier in his news conference, Pederson seemed to indicate that the depth chart at QB has not changed.
“I had a chance to talk to Carson on the field last night after the game,” Pederson said. “I told him to just take this in. Enjoy this moment. He’s a great quarterback. I told him, ‘You’re a big, big part of why this team won this championship.’ I told him hopefully we’ll be back in this game with him leading the way.”
Vikings fans have to wince at that Wentz conversation. Poor Doug having to possibly choose between the Super Bowl MVP and the young man who was steamrolling toward the league MVP before tearing a knee ligament.
When the “Minneapolis Miracle” thrust the Vikings into Lincoln Financial Field only two weeks ago, it sure felt like the Vikings would become the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
First came the soul-shaking 38-7 loss that rocked the No. 1-ranked defense and tempered the excitement around quarterback Case Keenum. Then what could have been an uplifting burst of Super Bowl firsts became a 14-day stretch of deflating reminders of what could have been.
No Super Bowl host team had ever advanced to the conference title game, let alone lost it. Therefore, no team had ever had their conqueror’s hated fans follow them home and take over their downtown streets for a weeklong stretch of festivities.
Sunday arrived. Four hours before kickoff, it was clear the crowd would be decidedly in favor of the Eagles.
As the buzz intensified, the Eagles came out of the locker room. They were the visiting team, but occupied the same sideline the Vikings use.
Kickoff drew closer and fans started chanting E-A-G-L-E-S! Philly’s defensive backs came onto the field pretending to soar like eagles. As the Eagles were announced, souvenir cups in the stadium turned midnight green.
The track meet, er, game ended with the Eagles on top 41-33. More midnight green appeared in the form of falling confetti.
Philly’s first Lombardi Trophy was hoisted. Then the party moved into the very same locker room the Vikings use.
Players were rejoicing and dancing together. I didn’t witness champagne being sprayed and consumed, but I smelled some breaths that suggest both took place.
Foles said he wasn’t surprised by his performance because he views himself fortunate enough to be part of a great team.
“The play the last several weeks was just a team thing,” he said. “The outcome was we were successful. And now we’re world champions.”
Foles also said he hasn’t had time to consider whether Sunday’s game has changed his career from journeyman backup to somebody’s starter.
“I’m not really worried about my future right now,” he said. “I’m grateful to be a part of the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m content in this moment. There will be a time and a place to handle all that.
“I’m excited for Carson Wentz to get back healthy. Dude’s a stud. I’m not looking ahead.”
For Vikings fans, that’s the only sensible direction to look. Especially after what’s happened the past 15 days.
Mark Craig is an NFL and Vikings Insider. Twitter: @MarkCraigNFL. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org