PHILADELPHIA – It can be silly season when it comes to making assumptions about NFL teams after five weeks, but one thing that’s safe to say is that Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo knows how to get the most out of his receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. And the different ways they were used on Sunday afternoon drove the Vikings’ 23-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
DeFilippo kept the Eagles’ pass rushers at bay early in the game by using a number of quick throws to Diggs that acted as a pseudo running game with gains of seven, five and six yards on the opening drive. The following drive opened up with another short throw that turned into 24 yards.
”Just keep them on their toes,” Diggs said. “As far as getting the ball in my hands, I’m just trying to gain as many yards as I can.”
Philadelphia’s pass rush was in quarterback Kirk Cousins’ face throughout the game, but only came away with one sack. He went 30-for-37 with 301 yards and one touchdown.
“I think it’s about eyes,” tackle Rashod Hill said. “Where their eyes are going, get them going the other way. They are a pass rush-first team, they get going up field…we had a gameplan and it worked out and I’m really glad it did.”
Once again Adam Thielen was a go-to receiver for Cousins. He registered over 100 yards for the fifth straight game, becoming the first receiver in the Super Bowl era to do so. Cousins was able to create just enough time to find him on a 68-yard pass while backed up against his own end zone.
“It comes back again to coach Flip,” Cousins said after the game. “He called a double-move the very first play of the drive backed up. That is an aggressive play caller. You trust the receiver to win and trust the team to execute the play and Adam flips the field for us and puts us down in the strike zone. As long as coach Flip keeps giving us opportunities and the coverage dictates that I go to Adam, he’s going to get the football. I think our offense is at its best when [Diggs] and [Thielen] are catching the ball.”
The Vikings have been playing from behind for a good portion of the season since Week 1, but they were given a bump by a defensive touchdown via Linval Joseph and finished the game after going up by two scores.
“[DeFilippo] emphasized finishing,” Cousins said. “We have to finish the game. I think the message was heard and received. It was very important this week because of the nature of getting out with a lead and then making sure we stayed the course and finish. We found a way to finish.”