Vikings vs. Eagles: 3 Key Matchups To Watch For In TNF Week 2

Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, Jalen Hurts, Vikings, Eagles
NFL Analysis Network

The Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles are both heading into their Week 2 Thursday Night Football matchup not feeling great about their Week 1 performances. However, there is one major difference; the outcomes.

The Vikings hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and suffered an upset, losing 20-17. The Eagles played a sloppy game against the New England Patriots on the road but were able to escape Gilette Stadium with a 25-20 victory.

This is a rematch of Week 2 of the 2022 season when Philadelphia came away with a 24-7 victory. That is something that the Vikings haven’t forgotten about, as they are looking to exact some revenge this time around.

They certainly need to, as falling to 0-2 on the season would be less than ideal. The Eagles will be looking to cement their status as a top team in the NFC and putting the Vikings in a deep hole to start the season.

Who has the advantages heading into the game tonight? Here are three key matchups to watch for as the Vikings and Eagles face off on Thursday Night Football.

3. TE T.J. Hockenson vs. LB Christian Elliss

The Eagles are going to be tested in the secondary on Thursday night. They are banged up because of injuries and the Vikings aren’t a team you want to go up against when your pass defense is short-handed.

One of the matchups that will be key is tight end T.J. Hockenson against linebacker Christian Elliss. According to PFF, Minnesota has a huge advantage here. There is an elite 42 percent, something the Vikings will look to exploit early and often.

Even if the Eagles want to change up their personnel and have a safety work against Hockenson, the results could be the same. Starting safety Reed Blankenship is going to miss this game because of a rib injury, otherwise, he could have been used to try and slow Hockenson down. 

Last week, Blankenship had a strong 78.2 coverage grade, which Philadelphia will sorely miss this week.

2. DT Jalen Carter vs. Vikings IOL

There may not have been a player in the NFL who dominated as much in Week 1 as Eagles’ rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter. He put together a historic performance against the Patriots, recording six pressures with one sack.

That is tied for the most pressures in a debut by a rookie in the last five seasons. There are a number of owners and front offices already regretting passing on him in the 2023 NFL Draft as the Eagles snagged him at No. 9.

The Vikings will present a stiff test to him as they graded out well in pass blocking, finishing 10th in the league. Guard Erza Cleveland had an elite 84.8 pass-blocking grade, but center Austin Schlottman and guard Ed Engram had their struggles. As a whole, the run blocking wasn’t overly strony either as the Vikings ranked 17th.

1. WR Jordan Addison vs. CB Josh Jobe

The Eagles are missing another key player from their secondary, cornerback James Bradberry. He is in the league’s concussion protocol and didn’t receive clearance in time to get on the field for Thursday Night Football.

That means Josh Jobe will be taking over his role and will likely be targeted early and often by Kirk Cousins. Rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison, more than likely, is the assignment that Jobe will receive as Darius Slay Jr. will shadow Justin Jefferson.

Whoever wins this matchup will go a long way in determining which team wins the game. The Vikings are going to air the ball out early and often and it will be interesting to see how the Eagles’ pass defense holds up without Bradberry and Blankenship