By Kevin McGuire
He’s baaaack! Sam Bradford returns to Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday when he leads the undefeated Minnesota Vikings to the field against the Philadelphia Eagles. One of the most notable trades in recent history started off well for both the Vikings and Eagles, but now a chance to prove who truly got the upper hand in the deal is on the line as the Eagles look to snap a two-game losing streak.
Vikings Season Record: 5-0
The Minnesota Vikings are the last undefeated team standing in the National Football League. The Vikings are coming off a bye week after dismantling the Houston Texans, 31-13. The Vikings also come to Philadelphia with a two-game winning streak going against the Eagles, including a 48-30 victory in Minnesota in 2013 and a bizarre Tuesday night game in 2010 due to a December snowstorm. The last time the Eagles defeated the Vikings was in the 2009 NFC Wild Card. The Eagles have not defeated the Vikings in Philadelphia since the 2005 season.
Vikings on Offense
Before the start of the 2016 season, the Vikings lost franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending injury. That prompted the Vikings to make a move with the Eagles to acquire Sam Bradford. That has worked out well for Bradford and the Vikings, but the numbers don’t necessarily suggest the Vikings are invincible on offense. The Vikings enter this week ranked 24th in passing offense and 32nd in rushing. The Vikings also lost Adrian Peterson, a catastrophic loss for their running game.
Vikings on Defense
This is where the Vikings have been thriving. Scoring points against the Vikings is difficult as the Vikings allow an average of just 12.6 points per game. Only the Tennessee Titans have managed to score more than 14 against the Vikings, so the Eagles will have their work cut out for them this week after a disappointing performance against Washington.
Players to Watch: QB Sam Bradford and WR Stefon Diggs
So far this season, Bradford has thrown for 990 yards and six touchdowns. He has completed over 70 percent of his passes in three of his last four games and has not thrown an interception yet. If the Eagles defend the pass the way they did against Washington, Bradford could have a mighty strong game in his return to Lincoln Financial Field.
One of Bradford’s top targets since his arrival has been wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The former Maryland standout is in his second season with the Vikings and he has been proving just how dangerous he is capable of being. Whether he plays or not remains in question, as he is currently battling a groin injury that has left him out of action. He will be monitored this week before deciding if he will play this weekend.
With the Eagles turning in their worst showing of the early stages of the Doug Pederson era on Sunday against Washington, there will be plenty of areas of the team in need of improvement. The Vikings defense will obliterate Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense if the offensive line is as sloppy as it was Sunday, and that could lead to a very long afternoon for the Birds. If the defense cleans its game up after two sluggish weeks, the Eagles can limit what Minnesota’s offense will be capable of doing, especially if Diggs is slowed or unavailable. It is the Vikings defense that could shut the door on the Eagles fairly early if things start poorly.