Halftime: Jennings gains 114 yards, Vikings hold 17-9 lead on Eagles
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MINNEAPOLIS - Without running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, the Minnesota Vikings had to flex their muscle in the passing game with Matt Cassel under center and third-string running back Matt Asiata shouldering the carries.
The Vikings hold a 17-9 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.
Cassel got his fourth start of the season and connected on his first eight passes as he found receiver Greg Jennings for a 57-yard touchdown pass for the game's first points in the first quarter. Jennings cracked the 100-yard mark for the first time since joining the Vikings this offseason as his 114 yards are a season high.
The Vikings outgained the Eagles 257-201 as the purple's ravaged defense held true for the first two quarters. On opening weekend, cornerback Marcus Sherels was fifth-string and Shaun Prater wasn't even on the team. Both started as the Vikings' cornerbacks on Sunday and held Eagles quarterback Nick Foles to 144 passing yards in the first half and no touchdowns.
Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson had an 18-yard touchdown off a double reverse negated after Foles was flagged for a peel-back block on linebacker Erin Henderson. Henderson played minimal snaps as the Vikings remained in their nickel defense, despite their thin cornerback situation.
Running back Matt Asiata ran for his first touchdown of his career just before halftime as Cassel led scoring drives of 4, 10 and 16 plays in the first half. With tight end John Carlson out, the Vikings only have two healthy options at that position and subsequently used swing tackle J'Marcus Webb and rookie guard Jeff Baca at times for run support.
Cassel finished the first half 14-for-20 with 202 yards and a touchdown.