1. Mesmerized Donatell embarrassed by Hurts
The Vikings shouldn't receive any fines from the NFL this week, but the league might want to charge defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and his troops the price of admission for the way they sat back in soft shell coverages and watched quarterback Jalen Hurts do pretty much whatever he wanted with his arm and his legs for far too much of a 24-7 Monday Night Football beatdown at Lincoln Financial Field. Hurts converted 5 of 8 first-half third downs, including a 19-yard pass on third-and-13, a 16-yard pass on third-and-6 and a way-too-easy 26-yard touchdown run on third-and-2. The Eagles had 347 yards. IN THE FIRST HALF! Hurts accounted for 301 of those with 251 passing and 50 rushing. He was responsible for as many touchdowns (three) as he had incompletions. Any changes Donatell made came far too late to make a difference.
2. Targeting Jefferson a good thing — for Slay
"The Griddy" got the night off, thanks to Eagles cornerback Darius Slay. Remember Week 1, when everyone, including Jaire Alexander, was asking why the Packers didn't use Jaire Alexander to shadow Jefferson? Eagles defensive coordinator and former Vikings assistant defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon must have been wondering the same thing. He used Slay to cut down the superstar receiver who had an easy league-high 184 yards receiving in Week 1. There were five balls thrown to Jefferson with Slay paying close attention to him. Kirk Cousins completed one of those to Jefferson and two of them to Slay. Slay's picks came at the goal line. The last one officially sunk the Vikings after a Jordan Hicks interception had given them the ball at the Eagles' 9-yard line. Jefferson finished with six catches on 12 targets for 48 yards and a long of 11.
3. Puzzling read by Cousins in third quarter
This was a team loss for sure. So don't pin it all on Cousins. Look no further than Kirk's perfectly-thrown deep ball that tight end Irv Smith Jr. dropped when spreading the blame for this one. Cousins, however, still makes some puzzling decisions for a player who's as good and as experienced as he is. A good example came early in the third quarter. It was first-and-10 from the Philly 19. Alexander Mattison was to his left and Jefferson also in the backfield to his right. Jefferson peeled off to the right and was wide open behind a blitzing edge rusher. One would think the automatic hot read is Jefferson. But Cousins turned to his left and forced the ball to Mattison in heavy traffic at the line of scrimmage. One play after the ugly incompletion, Cousins went looking for Jefferson and threw his first interception to Slay.
4. Wasn't Cook supposed to have a big game?
The Week 1 numbers on Philly's run defense — 181 yards allowed on 28 carries — had many assuming a big night for Dalvin Cook. Instead, Cook had three carries for 3 yards when the Vikings trailed 24-7 at the half. The Eagles used rookie first-round draft pick Jordan Davis more in this game than they did against the Lions in Week 1. With Davis in the game, the Lions managed only 43 yards on 14 carries (3.3). With him on the sideline, they had 138 yards on 14 carries (9.9). Whether Davis had any tackles doesn't matter. What matters is a 6-6, 336-pound beast refusing to be budged. The Vikings tested the middle of the Eagles' defensive line on the first plays of their first and second possessions. Cook gained 1 yard each time. Each time, they ended up going three-and-out. By Cook's third carry, the Vikings trailed 14-0.
5. Great pick by Howie Roseman!
For one night, Eagles GM Howie Roseman picked the best receiver on the field from the 2020 NFL draft. Yeah, poor Howie deserves the heat he's taken for selecting Jalen Reagor 21st in a draft that saw Howie's buddy, Rick Spielman, take Jefferson 22nd. But Howie, who finally gave up on Reagor last month, also selected Quez Watkins 179 picks after Reagor. And the sixth-round pick had the 53-yard touchdown catch to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead. It was a nice play designed to fool young safety Cam Bynum. And it worked. For some reason, Bynum, in a two-deep look, bit on a short route by tight end Dallas Goedert. When he did that, Goedert immediately turned and raised his arms, knowing exactly what would happen next. With no deep coverage, Watkins was wide open for Hurts' deep ball. Watkins had two catches for 69 yards, 14 more than the combined total for Jefferson (48) and Reagor (seven).
The Star Tribune reporter did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and other resource material.