Vikings Confident Eagles’ Defense Can’t Stop Them, Regardless of Plan for Justin Jefferson
Spirits are high at TCO Performance Center in Eagan, this week. A dominating win over the Green Bay Packers in week one will have that effect. But we’re now in week 2 and the Minnesota Vikings have the challenge of traveling to Philadelphia and playing in a hostile environment vs the 1-0 Eagles on Monday Night Football.
And now that Kevin O’Connell has debuted his genius, the Vikings’ offense can no longer hide behind a veil of the unknown. The rest of the league, including the Philadelphia Eagles, now has 60 minutes of film on KOC’s schemes and parts of his playbook. Plus, an entire game’s worth of tape on what a defense should NOT do vs Justin Jefferson.
Vikings: Bring it on.
So what happens if the Philadelphia Eagles can use that to slow Jefferson? Will the offense wilt as a result? After what we witnessed on Sunday, I’m not convinced JJ can be slowed… But, even if an opponent were to find success with such an impossible task, the Minnesota Vikings remain unconcerned.
In fact, they appear to welcome such a challenge, according to a Thursday SportsCenter hit by Vikings beat reporter, Kevin Siefert. Essentially: ‘We have other weapons’.
“Talking to Vikings people this week, I think they feel pretty good that no matter what happens with [Justin] Jefferson, they’ll have some options. Adam Thielen, their veteran receiver, can beat any defense, same with KJ Osborn, their 3rd receiver. Dalvin Cook can run through a defense, as well. No matter what happens with Justin Jefferson, and the way the Eagles try to defend him, they feel confident they’ll have answers.” — Kevin Seifert (ESPN – SportsCenter)
What will Eagles do vs Jefferson?
The internal confidence is contagious and Minnesota’s offense did look sublime last week. Or, do the Eagles have a viable plan installed to make life more difficult on Justin Jefferson and O’Connell? Whatever the Eagles are cooking up to stop JJ, they aren’t giving out recipe secrets.
They have two very capable cornerbacks, one being Darius Slay, who is seen as a top-tier defensive back. But they, much like the Packers last week, may struggle with how much Justin Jefferson shuffles around play to play. It isn’t really about Slay having to chase JJ around pre-snap or starting plays on the move. It more so has to do with tipping coverages.
Philadelphia plays a mixture of zone and man. Its effectiveness, much like the Vikings new defense, relies a lot on pre-snap disguises. Chasing Jefferson around presnap could make it much easier for Kirk Cousins and Kevin O’Connell to read what the Eagles’ defense is trying to do.
“Monday night will be the first time the Eagles will have to face Jefferson since that draft blunder, and it’ll be interesting to see what the plan is to try to slow him down. Darius Slay is the obvious candidate, but as Gannon mentioned, it’s hard to game plan for receivers that line up everywhere, particularly when trying to have a corner follow the best receiver without tipping coverages.” — Jimmy Kempski (PhillyVoice.com)
Is the Eagles defense any good?
The Eagles were excited about their defense, entering the season. This, after they ranked near the bottom in sacks and pressures last year. Their goal was to limit big plays by bringing in more talent for the secondary and interior offensive line. They drafted (DT) Jordan Davis in the first round and plucked veteran (CB) James Bradbury out of free agency.
Near the halfway point of their week one contest vs the Detroit Lions, the Eagles defense was feeling pretty good. But then, the Lions scored on four-straight drives (not including an end-of-half kneel-down) and surged back to nearly claim victory. D’Andre Swift posted 155 yards rushing and Jordan Davis only played 22 snaps.
When it was all over, Philly had surrendered 35 points on just 386 total yards allowed. Their DVOA good for 21st in the NFL. A performance that won’t be viable vs a superior Minnesota Vikings offense. The more I dig into this matchup, the more I’m prone to agree with those inside the organization who are not concerned with the Eagles’ plan to stop them on Monday night.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan