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Vikings-Eagles Opponent Q&A: Jalen Hurts, Jordan Davis, MNF Prediction

Ed Kracz of Eagles Today answers five questions on Monday night's Vikings-Eagles matchup.
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To get the Philadelphia perspective on Monday night's big game between the Vikings and Eagles, I reached out to my colleague Ed Kracz of Eagles Today to ask him five questions.

Here's what he had to say. (You can find my answers to his questions here).

What are the local expectations like for the Eagles this year? Did their Week 1 performance impact those expectations at all?

Based on the offseason GM Howie Roseman had, filling holes with proven talent, the expectations were raised exponentially, to the point where it feels like Super Bowl or bust for them locally. Expectations are so high that nobody in Philadelphia seemed overly excited about the Eagles' season-opening 38-35 win over the Lions, where they nearly squandered a 31-14 lead.

Even nationally, the Eagles are getting some love for a Super Bowl push. It's due to some important acquisitions from Roseman. The key ones came mostly on defense, where he brought in linebackers Haason Reddick and Kyzir White and cornerback James Bradberry in free agency, traded for safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and drafted defensive tackle Jordan Davis with the 13th overall pick.

Offensively, he made a splash on draft night by trading for wide receiver A.J. Brown, who made his debut with a 10-catch, 155-yard performance. The yards were his career high and set a team record for a receiver in his debut.

Jalen Hurts is obviously a major threat on the ground, but how do you think he looked as a passer against the Lions?

I thought his mechanics looked improved over a season ago. Granted, it's one game.

His 54-yard completion to Brown at the end of the first half was a beautiful throw, hitting the receiver in stride. Brown called it a “dime,” adding that the pass, “fell from the sky.” The Eagles' O-line just didn’t give Hurts much time to throw. He was sacked only once, but a quarterback without Hurts' skillset would have been down a lot more than that.

So, running will always be a part of his game, and the Eagles are fine with that, even though the risk of injury increases when you turn up field. What they would like to see is more development as a passer. Hurts completed 18 of 32 passes for 243 yards while rushing for 90 yards on 17 attempts.

Something he did well, and may not have done last year, was throw the ball away. He did it four times when he ran out of real estate as he got closer to the boundary. Last year he may have tried to make something out of nothing and lost yards.

D'Andre Swift had a huge game in Detroit. How concerned are you with the Eagles' run defense, and can we expect to see more of rookie Jordan Davis this week?

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It’s a big concern. They need to be more disciplined staying in the running lanes, and when/if they do, they need to tackle. They were terrible at that in Detroit.

The run defense did seem better when Davis was in there, but it wasn't just him. The run defense was better when the Eagles were in five-man fronts with Davis in the middle between DTs Milton Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu. the Eagles aren’t ready to use him yet in downs they think will be pass plays, because he is still working on his pass-rush technique. He played 22 snaps last week, but I would think his package may increase to something closer to, say, 30.

Really, though, veterans Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave need to play better in the run game in order to keep the Vikings from putting up a big number like the Lions did when they ran for 181 yards.

Who is one under-the-radar player on each side of the ball that Vikings fans should be aware of?

I’m not sure how much tight end Dallas Goedert flies under the radar, but he had just three catches for 60 yards on four targets and could be in line for a bigger game.

Tuipulotu, a second-year defensive tackle, played a strong game. He had a big hand in James Bradberry’s pick-6 when he exploded through the guard-center gap and was right in the face of Detroit QB Jared Goff, forcing an errant throw.

Lastly, let's hear your prediction for Monday night. Who wins, and why?

The Eagles haven’t won a game in Week 2 since 2016. Not even in their Super Bowl season of 2017 did they win in Week 2. Being a big trend guy, that means something to me. Enough for the Vikings to come into Philly and spoil the Eagles’ home opener?

I think so.

The Vikings will find a way to slow Jalen Hurts, and the Eagles' pass rush is still iffy, with only one sack against the Lions and just 29 last year. If they can pressure Kirk Cousins and give him less time to find his arsenal of weapons, the Eagles might win.

I have a hard time seeing that happen. Give me Minnesota in a close one, 31-28.

Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.