When: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Lincoln Financial Field
TV, radio: Ch. 5, 100.3-FM
Line: Eagles by 2½
THREE STORY LINES
Test coming on Monday night
A 23-7 victory over the Packers helped the Vikings start the Kevin O'Connell era in impressive fashion. They will face a playoff team on the road Monday, as their defense tries to contain a talented Philadelphia offense while their offense deals with a noisy environment. "We're gonna find out a lot about where we're at, when we can travel away from our great home environment and go play in a really tough environment," O'Connell said. "Worked a really good week of practice, tried to simulate as much as possible, but we all know noise out of speakers is a lot different than 67,000-plus [fans]."
Jefferson faces Eagles for the first time ... as does Reagor
Justin Jefferson figured the Eagles would take him with the 21st pick in the 2020 draft; the Eagles took Texas Christian receiver Jalen Reagor instead. The Vikings traded for Reagor on Aug. 31, ending his time in Philadelphia after two disappointing seasons. Jefferson, meanwhile, will face the Eagles for the first time in a young career in which he's become one of the league's best receivers. Reagor will be the Vikings punt returner; Jefferson will be Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon's primary concern.
Philly connections run deep for Vikings' new leaders
While O'Connell grew up playing football in the San Diego area, his father Bill's Philadelphia roots and his time in New Jersey made him an Eagles fan at a young age. Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah grew up just outside of Philadelphia, as well; the game will be a homecoming of sorts for him. "We didn't know this, but actually we were in New Jersey together at the same time [as kids], both loving Randall Cunningham," Adofo-Mensah said earlier this month. "We had a lot of similarities growing up, [now] just coming together in Minnesota."
TWO KEY MATCHUPS
Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. Eagles CB Darius Slay
The Vikings, as they did last week, figure to move Jefferson around, but when he's lined up wide, he'll see plenty of Slay, the 31-year-old cornerback who made his fourth career Pro Bowl last season after three with the Lions. Slay has remained a strong cover corner into his 10th season; the Vikings could also try to line Jefferson up to test the Eagles' other veterans (James Bradberry and Avonte Maddox) or get him isolated on linebackers like they did last week.
Vikings defense vs. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
Hurts ran 17 times for 90 yards in the Eagles' win over the Lions last week, and he'll get some designed runs in addition to plays where he'll take off to run if his downfield options are covered. Bringing pressure against Hurts could be helpful if the Vikings' intent is to make him beat them with his arm, but they will have to keep him from connecting on downfield shots when he's outside the pocket.
ONE STAT THAT MATTERS
20 Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts' completion percentage under pressure in Philadelphia's Week 1 win over the Lions, according to Pro Football Focus. Detroit pressured Hurts 17 times; when he decided to throw, he hit just two of his 10 passes for 22 yards and threw the ball away four times.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN IF …
They can win their matchup with Hurts, primarily by making him throw the ball under pressure and keeping him from beating them with his feet. They'll also need Cameron Dantzler and Patrick Peterson to be sharp against A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith, and they could run effectively against an Eagles team that allowed 181 yards on the ground last week.
THE EAGLES WILL WIN IF …
The Vikings can't find an answer for Hurts' mobility, either by letting him run effectively or connect on downfield shots to his receivers while extending plays. Philadelphia will also need to control Jefferson and find ways to make Kirk Cousins uncomfortable, after sacking Jared Goff just once on 39 dropbacks last week.
Both of these offenses have the potential to score plenty of points; the Vikings defense did an impressive job last week against Aaron Rodgers, but will need to rush Hurts differently. Still, the Vikings have enough difference-makers in various areas — Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith chasing down Hurts, Dalvin Cook potentially in for a big night against the Eagles run defense and Cousins able to pick on the Philadelphia secondary with Jefferson — that the Vikings will get to 2-0. Vikings 31, Eagles 26