How Were the Four NFL Conference Championship Teams Built?

A look at the rosters and philosophies of the Vikings, Eagles, Patriots and Jaguars.

Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles discusses play with teammates. (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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After the Minnesota Vikings won in an upset, old friends Howie Roseman and Rick Spielman traded texts, both congratulatory and also, “Can you believe it?” Sixteen months before, Roseman, the Eagles vice president of football operations, and Spielman, the Vikings general manager, brokered one of the most impactful in-season trades of this decade in the NFL — according to them. Spielman sent first- and fourth-round picks to the Eagles for Sam Bradford, whom Roseman had given a two-year, $36 million contract six months early. This came after Teddy Bridgewater’s free knee injury, and Philly’s willingness to do it was because they had Carson Wentz. But not, in the NFC conference championship this weekend, Bradford, Wentz, and Bridgewater are all not playing. Instead, the Eagles will be led by Nick Foles (a Chief at the time of the trade) and Spielman’s by Case Keenum (a Rams then). So how did the four — the Vikings, Eagles, Patriots and Jaguars — championship-round teams come to be? Sports Illustrated explains what ties brought the teams together and how the teams were built.

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