Why the Vikings Are 0-2 After Losing to the Eagles on “TNF”

Philadelphia held off a turnover-prone Minnesota squad 34-28 on Thursday night

Minnesota running back Alexander Mattison fumbles the ball.
Minnesota's Alexander Mattison loses one of the four fumbles the Vikings had on Thursday.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Two of the top teams in the NFC last season appear to be headed in very different directions, as the Eagles are 2-0 and the Vikings are 0-2 after Philadelphia was able to dispatch Minnesota 34-28 on Thursday Night Football.

Both teams were sloppy, and the defending NFC champs were booed by their home crowd in the first half when a string of offensive plays went nowhere for Philadelphia, but it was the Vikings who were ultimately doomed by their own mistakes as quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Alexander Mattison and wide receivers Brandon Powell and Justin Jefferson all lost fumbles. The Vikings did force an interception, but Thursday night was the second game in a row that Minnesota finished minus-3 in the turnover margin.

Those fumbles were enough to offset an excellent night from Cousins, who typically struggles in primetime matchups, as the the 35-year-old threw for more than 360 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His counterpart, Jalen Hurts, was unspectacular for the second week in a row with just 193 passing yards with a pick and a touchdown, but the 25-year-old did rush for two scores in the win for Philly. With those two rushing TDs, Hurts now has 28 career rushing touchdowns, tied with Cam Newton for the most through a quarterback’s first 50 career games.

A playoff team last season, the Vikings are in big trouble in the NFC North and are now a longshot to qualify for the postseason after winning the division last season at 13-4. The Eagles, who were the top seed in the NFC at 14-3 last season and made it all the way to the Super Bowl, are undefeated and are in pretty good shape despite playing relatively poorly in both of their games.

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“I’ve gotta coach it better from a standpoint of something we talk about every single day — ball security is a major, major focus in our football philosophy, but clearly I need to do a better job,” said Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. “And our staff, we need to go back and continue to find ways to re-emphasize how important it is when you have the football in your hands playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Because like I said, we’re really not giving ourselves clean opportunities to win these games, the way we’ve started.”

The Vikings will look to salvage their season next week when the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Minnesota, while the Eagles will look to continue their winning ways when they visit Tampa Bay for Week 3’s edition of Monday Night Football.

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