Key Matchups for Week Five Vikings at Eagles

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Jan 21, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) avoids tackle by Minnesota Vikings free safety Harrison Smith (22) and strong safety Andrew Sendejo (34) during the second quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) avoids tackle by Minnesota Vikings free safety Harrison Smith (22) and strong safety Andrew Sendejo (34) during the second quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After two consecutive losses, the Vikings travel to Philadelphia for a game with the defending champions.

Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups for week three.

Doug Pederson vs. Mike Zimmer

Both of these coaches are fantastic schemers, Pederson on offense and Zimmer on defense. Though both teams have had some early disappointments, they remain long-term contenders. The last time these teams met, Pederson got the better of Zimmer, using play action, packaged plays, and run-pass options to confuse the Vikings defense. Zimmer had all offseason to come up with a better game plan this time around, so it will be an intriguing battle to watch. I expect Zimmer to display some new looks, particularly on third down, in hopes of confusing Carson Wentz and the Eagles stalwart offensive line.

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Vikings OL vs. Eagles DL

The Vikings offensive line is coming off two consecutive bad performances. The Eagles have one of the best defensive lines in the league. While Kirk Cousins has performed admirably against pressure this year, this Eagles defense will be the best he’s seen so far. The Vikings offensive line will need to be at their best in order for the Vikings to move the ball against this group. If Cousins is pressured at the 54 percent rate he faced last week vs the Rams, it’s likely to be a long day for the Vikings.

Zach Ertz vs. Harrison Smith

The last time these teams played, Zach Ertz was a focal point for the Eagles offense. His route running gave Harrison Smith fits, and his out-and-up route was one of Smith’s worst plays of the season. Smith has struggled some in coverage so far this year. That said, he is still one of the better safeties in the league. If Smith can limit Ertz’s impact on the game, it will force the Eagles to utilize their weakened receiver corps more. On the other hand, if Ertz gets the better of Smith, it’s likely going to be another long day for the Vikings defense.

– Madison Parkhill writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings and Fantasy Football. Follow him @MadPark44 and follow @FPC_Vikings.

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