Like tens of thousands of people in Philadelphia, the Vikings woke up Sunday with a hangover—though it wasn’t from hitting the bars at the corner of Frankford and Cottman. After a week of riding the high off the Minneapolis Miracle, the Vikings faced reality in a 38-7 loss, as the Eagles systematically dismantled Minnesota and turned its miracle into a delayed curse.
Across 60 excruciating minutes, everything Vikings fans held dear was taken from them. One week after Minnesota blew a 17-point halftime lead only to inexplicably come back, it entered halftime down 17. Since halftime of the divisional round, the Vikings were outscored 62-19, and were thoroughly embarrassed Sunday as everything Minnesota did well all season failed it.
This was a very unusual first half for the Vikings.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 22, 2018
And not in a good way ... pic.twitter.com/ddJ6kPvahM
The Vikings finished the year as the no. 1 defense in the league by weighted DVOA, but on Sunday they melted, allowing the Eagles and Nick Foles to rack up 456 total yards and 27 first downs. Minnesota had allowed opposing offenses to convert just 25.2 percent of third downs, the best mark since at least 1991. On Sunday, the Eagles converted 71 percent (10-of-14). Minnesota allowed touchdowns on 41 percent of red zone trips this year, third-best in the league. Philadelphia got two touchdowns on two trips Sunday. Minnesota allowed seven plays of 40-plus yards all season, and the Eagles had two 40-plus-yard offensive touchdowns on Sunday. The Eagles scored 38 straight points, the most consecutive points in a conference championship since 2001, when the Giants dropped 41 on … the Vikings. The Vikings defense was missing for so long a police department put out an APB.
We just have been contacted by the @MinneapolisPD and are assisting in the locating of the Minnesota Vikings defense. If located we will let you know. We must hurry as we have been given a 30 minute time limit to assist /802— Sioux Falls Police (@siouxfallspd) January 22, 2018
As bad as the defense looked, the offense was even worse. Case Keenum finished with 28 completions on 48 attempts for 271 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and as many answers against the Eagles as he had to explain last week’s Stefon Diggs touchdown: zero. Keenum looked rattled throughout the game, and occasionally missed receivers to a comical degree.
Even the Vikings’ would-be excuse—playing with a backup quarterback—isn’t worth diddly squat against a Foles-led Philly squad.
Now, Minnesota has questions to answer. A defense as experienced and healthy as possible in January will have to explain why it turned into a pumpkin for the final six quarters of the postseason. Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater are all staring down free agency, and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is hours away from officially being introduced as the Giants head coach. A team that thought it had turned the page on a history of awful playoff defeats instead added one to the record book.
Worst of all, the team that wanted to #bringithome and play in the first home Super Bowl will now have to hear about how Tom Brady’s mom is from Minnesota for two weeks. The Vikings promised to defend the North, but now they head back to Minneapolis and will be helpless as their home is invaded by Eagles fans. Hopefully they have enough Crisco for Philadelphia’s two-week occupation.