On the Bright Side, the Defense has Improved… Right?

Now I know what you might be thinking; how on earth could the defense have improved when we just allowed 34 points and got run over by the Eagles? Well, the defense as a whole may not have improved, but there can definitely be a case for the Vikings’ pass defense having improved from what was probably the worst pass defense of all time last season.

When looking at the stats for the Eagles offense, QB Jalen Hurts did not even throw for 200 yards in the game. In the Vikings meeting with the Eagles in 2022, Hurts threw for 333 yards. The Vikings were also able to get an interception off of Hurts. The interception coming from Theo Jackson, who was in the game for the injured Josh Metellus at the time.

The majority of Jalen Hurts’ 193 passing yards went to WR Devonta Smith, with Smith reeling in 175 receiving yards throughout the game. Besides Devonta Smith, the Eagles’ pass game was relatively quiet, with AJ Brown only having 4 receptions for 29 yards. The low production of AJ Brown led to Brown getting into an argument with Jalen Hurts on the sideline during the Thursday night game. Vikings cornerbacks Akayleb Evans and Byron Murphy Jr. took turns covering AJ Brown and showed great production against Brown when covering him.

Now, everyone is open to their own opinions on what cost the Vikings the game on Thursday. The majority of people that you ask will say it was the 4 fumbles given up by the Vikings’ offense throughout the game. A very overlooked factor into the loss however, was the run defense.

Like last year, the run defense to begin the year has been absolutely abysmal.

Eagles running back D’Andre Swift had 28 carries for 175 yards and 1 touchdown against the Vikings. Probably the biggest example of truly how bad the Vikings’ run defense was, however, came at the end of the first half.

Justin Jefferson had just fumbled the football out of the back of the endzone, and now the Eagles had the ball at their own 25 with 50 seconds left in the half. It was clear that the Eagles were just trying to burn the clock, but every time they ran the ball, they would gain 10-15 yards. The Eagles would run the ball every play, not call a single timeout, and kick a 61-yard field goal to end the half.

Not to mention the 2 QB sneaks that Jalen Hurts had that resulted in touchdowns. Even though the formation that the Eagles lined up in has been heavily debated since the game, it is very clear that the Vikings just do not have anyone with enough strength on their defensive line to stop the run.

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