After last week’s emotional win, the Minnesota Vikings had no answers for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship. Nick Foles threw for three touchdowns and 352 yards in a 38-7 win, sending the Eagles to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season. They’re now set for a Super Bowl 39 rematch with the New England Patriots.
The Vikings scored on their opening drive, but it was all downhill from there as the Eagles scored 38 unanswered points. Case Keenum threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He also lost a fumble that set up an Eagles scoring drive, essentially driving in the dagger late in the second quarter.
Keenum finished with just one touchdown, two picks, and 271 yards on 28-of-48 passing. The Vikings’ defense, so dominant all season, was completely annihilated by Foles and Co. Things were set up for a potential dream season with Minnesota hosting the Super Bowl, but the Vikings are instead going home after the humbling loss.
- Eagles gave most aggressive performance in the NFL playoffs with rout over Vikings in the NFC Championship
- Patrick Robinson used his convoy of Eagles blockers for a pick-6 against the Vikings
- Championship Sunday blessed us with not one, not two, but THREE successful flea flickers
- The Vikings’ curling celebration was a nice warm up for the Winter Olympics
- Mike Trout was cheering on the Eagles in a dog mask at the NFC Championship game
- Eagles and Vikings’ skirmish didn’t stop the Philadelphia cheerleaders from doing their job
- Eagles fans turned Vikings’ ‘Skol’ chant into a ‘Foles’ chant during NFC Championship blowout
Final score: Eagles 38, Vikings 7
The Vikings blew another scoring chance when Keenum threw his second interception well into garbage time.
We wondered who Foles was talking to on the phone.
A shoving match broke out after the extra point attempt, but that didn’t stop the cheerleaders from getting their routine in.
Eagles 38, Vikings 7 Jeffery got his second touchdown of the game as the rout continues.
Third quarter: Eagles 31, Vikings 7
The Eagles aren’t taking their foot off the gas, with Nelson Agholor making a 33-yard catch near midfield on third and 5. Yet more big plays got them to the 9, as they just kept carving up the Vikings’ once-elite defense.
Minnesota finally got going on offense again, if only out of desperation. Keenum moved them to the red zone, but they stalled out from there. Thielen appeared to bring in an amazing touchdown catch, only for it to be overturned on review.
Eagles 31, Vikings 7 Philly got the ball to start the half and kept marching down the field. They possibly buried the Vikings for good with the dreaded flea flicker, resulting in a 41-yard touchdown to Torrey Smith.
Second quarter: Eagles 24, Vikings 7
Eagles 24, Vikings 7 Now the Vikings are completely falling apart, with the offense punting again and the defense giving up more chunk yards. A field goal sent the Eagles to halftime with a commanding lead.
Eagles 21, Vikings 7 Philly cashed in the turnover in emphatic fashion, with Foles hitting Alshon Jeffery for a 53-yard touchdown pass. It’s probably no coincidence that Xavier Rhodes was out with a toe injury on this drive, because nobody was close to Jeffery.
The Vikings’ offense briefly came back to life and got as far as the Eagles’ 16-yard line. But disaster struck again when Keenum got strip-sacked by Derek Barnett, with Chris Long recovering the ball.
Mike Trout is in attendance and looks extremely thrilled to be there.
The Vikings went three-and-out again, with the game clearly getting away from them. Their defense at least forced a stop when Danielle Hunter took down Foles on a third-down blitz.
Eagles 14, Vikings 7 An impressive Eagles drive ended with authority, as LeGarrette Blount pounded it in from 11 yards out and gave Philly the lead.
First quarter: Vikings 7, Eagles 7
After a Vikings three-and-out, the Eagles picked up on offense to move past midfield. Foles is efficient once again, utilizing the RPO to pick apart the Vikings’ defense. Philly got into the red zone at the end of the quarter.
Vikings 7, Eagles 7 A bad duck from Keenum got picked off and this game flipped in a hurry. Patrick Robinson took it back 50 yards to tie things up.
Steon Diggs appeared to have suffered a back injury, but he was back in the game on the Vikings’ next drive.
Nick Foles took a deep shot early, but Torrey Smith dropped what would’ve been a huge gain inside the red zone. On third down, Trey Burton didn’t get his feet inbounds on a catch and Philly punted.
Minnesota celebrated the touchdown with some leisurely curling.
Vikings 7, Eagles 0 The Vikings started with the ball and moved into Philly territory with a steady dose of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. They got on the board with a flawless drive, capped off by Keenum hitting Kyle Rudolph for a 25-yard touchdown.
Before the game
The Minnesota Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship on a stunning, instant classic of a miracle. Now they must recreate the magic when they head on the road to face the Philadelphia Eagles with a spot in Super Bowl 52 on the line. The NFC champion will be decided when the game kicks at 6:40 p.m. ET on FOX (live streams at Fox Sports Go, Yahoo! Sports, and FuboTV).
Both teams are looking to break long Super Bowl droughts and win a title for the first time in franchise history. The Vikings haven’t made the big game since the 1977 season, while the Eagles last went there in 2004.
The Vikings moved on after an incredible Divisional Round win over the New Orleans Saints. After Minnesota blew a 17-0 lead, the lead changed four times in the final three minutes before Stefon Diggs sealed the win with a 61-yard walk-off touchdown. It was a stunning, cathartic moment for a team and fan base with way too many playoff heartbreaks in its history.
But there’s still another game to play this week, so Mike Zimmer and his players will try to avoid an emotional letdown. Case Keenum continued his efficient play, throwing for 318 yards and a touchdown in the win. His biggest mistake was a dead-duck interception that set up the Saints’ comeback, but otherwise Keenum made all the throws he needed, trusting Diggs and Adam Thielen to make plays.
On the defensive side, the Vikings are as good as ever, even when Drew Brees led a comeback attempt in the second half. Xavier Rhodes suffered a minor injury, but returned to play a big role down the stretch. Andrew Sendejo left with a concussion and his status is questionable for this game. Otherwise, one of the league’s best defenses is largely healthy in time to face Nick Foles.
The Eagles offense is still touch and go without Carson Wentz, but Foles had more good than bad moments in a 15-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons. In frigid weather, Foles finished with 246 yards on 23-of-30 passing, spreading the ball around to the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Torrey Smith. The Eagles didn’t score any touchdowns, but by avoiding critical mistakes, Foles put his defense in a good position to win.
Much like the Vikings, the Eagles defense is their bread and butter. Fletcher Cox is a disruptive force up the middle, almost completely taking away the Falcons running game. The battle in the trenches will be fascinating to watch here, and it could end up deciding the game.
Both the Vikings and Eagles are historically downtrodden franchises, and one fan base is going to experience heartbreak yet again this week. Either the Vikings will be the first team to play the Super Bowl on their home turf, or the Eagles will prove that they’re still a dangerous team even without Wentz. It’s going to be a tense, hard-hitting affair that no football fan should miss.
- We still can’t believe that the Minneapolis Miracle actually happened.
All the Vikings really needed to do was to get the ball down the field far enough for a reasonable field-goal attempt, say inside the Saints 35-yard line, for a long one. That meant get it to a receiver, get out of bounds to stop the clock, and send out Kai Forbath and the kicking team.
Minnesota has a sad history with game-winning field-goal attempts. But it was the smart play, the play that the Vikings were attempting when they called the “seven heaven” play, something they’ve practiced many times before.
- The Vikings’ and Eagles’ success proves that defense can still win championships.
Of the three quarterbacks who are making people say “Wait, how did he get here?” Keenum is the one who has played like a playoff quarterback all year.
With Teddy Bridgewater recovering from a knee injury suffered in 2016 and Sam Bradford going down with a knee injury of his own early in the season, the Vikings turned to Keenum and got surprisingly great results. In 15 regular-season games in 2017, he threw 22 touchdowns with just seven interceptions and finished the year with the NFL’s seventh-best passer rating (98.3).
He put up brand-name statistics on a Costco-brand reputation, and that means a significant payday is on the horizon for Keenum.
- Jay Ajayi disappeared for a long stretch last week, and Bleeding Green Nation examines why.
Some have theorized Ajayi’s absence was punishment for his earlier fumble, but that doesn’t really make sense since he got a lot of touches right after that. Plus it’s not like [LeGarrette] Blount was doing a great job protecting the rock. He had a botched handoff with Nick Foles.
The feeling here is the Eagles really need to reduce Blount’s role in the offense right now. He played 30% of the snaps and had nine carries for 19 yards against Atlanta. Ajayi and Corey Clement should be eating into his playing time.
This might come off as a nitpicky complaint but the Eagles’ margin for error is slim now that they’re playing in the NFC Championship Game. They need to make every play count.
- Daily Norseman breaks down the positional matchups in its game preview.
The Vikings and Eagles both have top defenses, so scoring will be at a premium. The Vikings are a little better on defense in just about every respect, and easily the best defense the Eagles have faced all season.
Offensively for the Eagles, everything changed after Wentz went down. They had a top offense in scoring and yards. But over the past three games, their average in both yards and points rank 30th in the league. They’ve converted only 23.68% of their 3rd downs, and now will be going up against the best defense in decades on third down- allowing only 25.1% of third downs to be converted- and less than 20% over the past three games.