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2017: NFC Championship Game Preview: Vikings at Eagles


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NFC Championship Game Preview: Vikings at Eagles


Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 06:36 AM

The Minnesota Vikings (13-3, 1-0 postseason) travel to face the Philadelphia Eagles (13-3, 1-0 postseason) in the NFC Championship Game for the fourth postseason matchup between the two franchises. The Vikings, who defeated the Saints 29-24 in the Divisional round, are looking for their first trip to the Super Bowl since the 1976 season (Super Bowl XI). The Eagles are coming off a 15-10 victory over the Falcons at home in the Divisional round. The Vikings, who will be playing in their 10th NFL or NFC Championship game, posted a 6-2 road record in 2017, while the Eagles were 7-1 at home in the regular season. The Vikings 13 regular-season wins were the second most in the history of the franchise (15-1, 1998). Philadelphia's 13 regular-season wins tied the 2004 Eagles for the most in franchise history.

The Vikings defense led the NFL in yards per game allowed (275.9) for the first time since 1993 and also led the league by allowing 15.8 points per game in the regular season. The Vikings defense limited opponents to 83.6 rushing yards per game (second in the NFL) and 3.6 yards per rush (fifth in the NFL). Minnesota stifled opponents to 192.4 passing yards per game, second in the NFL, making them the only defense in the NFL to rank in the top three in both rushing yards and passing yards allowed per game.

DE Everson Griffen tied for fourth in the NFL with a career high 13 sacks this season, the third time in his career he has reached double digits (12 in 2014, 10.5 in 2015). LB Eric Kendricks, who has led the Vikings in tackles each of his first three seasons, led the Vikings with 136 tackles (coaches' stats). S Harrison Smith tied his career high with five interceptions in 2017, tied for fifth in the NFL.

The Vikings offense, which finished 11th in the NFL in yards per game (358.9), has been led by the consistent play from WR Adam Thielen, who was fifth in the NFL with 1,276 receiving yards and eighth in the NFL with 91 receptions, and QB Case Keenum, who completed 67.6 percent of his passes (second in NFL). Keenum stepped in and started 14 games, posting an 11-3 record. Keenum threw 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions, compiling a career-best 98.3 passer rating. RBs Jerick McKinnonand Latavius Murray filled the void left by rookie starter RB *Dalvin Cook,* *helping the Vikings RB group total 2,461 yards from scrimmage this season, the fourth-highest total among all RB groups in 2017.

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