Eagles vs. Vikings: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Minnesota

Tim Arcand@@TArcandCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2013

Eagles vs. Vikings: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Minnesota

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    The Minnesota Vikings, behind quarterback Matt Cassel, finally put together an offensive explosion that more than compensated for a defense that allowed it's average of 30 points per game. Cassel threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third to lead the Vikings to their fourth win of the season with a 48-30 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles

    Heading into the game, the Vikings were six-point underdogs, per FootballLOCKS.com, at home to the Eagles, who were riding a five-game winning streak to take the lead in the NFC East. The Vikings were also riding the best part of their season, going 2-2-1 over the past five games. 

    This win was the highest point total for the Vikings since Week 14 of the 1998 season, when they defeated the Chicago Bears 48-22 at the Metrodome. 

    Here are the roster grades for the Vikings' high-scoring win over the Eagles.


    All statistics referenced from this game are from NFL GSIS, unless otherwise noted.


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    Matt Cassel: A

    With no running game to keep the Eagles defense honest, Cassel was able to pick apart the defense for 382 yards and two touchdowns on 26-of-35 passing. He also rushed for a touchdown, adding 19 yards on three rushes.


    Christian Ponder: N/A

    Ponder didn't even have to warm up, as Cassel was in total control the entire game. 


    Overall Grade: A 

Running Backs

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    Adrian Peterson: Inactive

    Peterson was limited in practice on Friday after spraining his foot in the Baltimore Ravens game last week. 


    Toby Gerhart: Inactive 

    A groin injury kept Gerhart from filling in for Peterson. 


    Matt Asiata: B

    Sure, Asiata only rushed for 51 yards on 30 carries—an average of only 1.7 yards per carry—but he was very Peterson-like when the Vikings got close to the goal line. He finished with three rushing touchdowns that covered a total of eight yards.


    Cordarrelle Patterson: B

    Patterson had 15 yards on two carries; one was supposed to be a pass, but Patterson reversed the field for a 12-yard gain. 


    Overall Grade: C

    I realize the grade is lower than all of the individual grades, but the total of only 85 rushing yards brings the grade down. 

Wide Receivers

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    Greg Jennings: A

    Jennings finished with a career-high 11 receptions for 163 yards. He was targeted 13 times as quarterback Matt Cassel's favorite target. Jennings' 57-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter opened the scoring for the Vikings and set the tone. 


    Cordarrelle Patterson: B-

    Patterson finished with five receptions, including his third touchdown catch of the season. In a game where Cassel threw for 382 yards, Patterson should have accounted for more than 35 of them.  


    Jerome Simpson: C

    Simpson finished with only one catch for 19 yards. As Patterson's role increases, Simpson's role has decreased.   


    Jarius Wright: B+

    Wright caught four passes for 98 yards, an average of 23.8 yards per catch. Cassel's first pass of the third quarter went to Wright, covering 42 yards. It gave the Vikings the ball on the Eagles' 8-yard line.  


    Joe Webb: Incomplete

    Webb was in the neighborhood as one pass was thrown in the end zone between him and Simpson. Webb actually got one hand on the ball. 


    Overall Grade: A

    The most catches in his career for Jennings and the most passing yards this season buoy this grade.

Tight Ends

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    Chase Ford: B+

    Filling in for John Carlson, who had been starting for Kyle Rudolph, Ford only made two catches, but they covered 55 yards.  


    Rhett Ellison: N/A

    Ellison was not even targeted in this game. 


    Overall Grade: B+

Offensive Line

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    Pass Blocking: B+

    The offensive line, without one of its regulars, right guard Brandon Fusco, did a very good job protecting quarterback Matt Cassel. The Eagles defense finished with three sacks and five quarterback hits on Cassel. 


    Run Blocking: C+

    With only 85 net rushing yards for the Vikings, there might not have been a lot of yards gained, but that may not be all on the offensive line. Both running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were inactive for the game.   


    Overall Grade: B+ 

    The Vikings passing game accounted for 382 yards—enough said. Only a sack-free game kept this from a better grade.

Defensive Line

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    Jared Allen: B+

    Allen had a very good game, finishing with two sacks and four quarterback hits. He also had two tackles for a loss, as he was very disruptive against the Eagles. 


    Kevin Williams: C

    Williams finished with one tackle and two quarterback hits.     


    Letroy Guion: D

    Guion started the game, but did not make the stat sheet.


    Brian Robison: B+

    It was the seventh straight game with a sack for Robison. He finished with two sacks and two quarterbacks hits. He is tied with Allen for the team lead in sacks with nine.


    Sharrif Floyd: C

    Floyd didn't start, but unlike Guion, he made the stat sheet with one quarterback hit.


    Everson Griffen: D

    Griffen has disappeared for much of the season, it will be interesting to see where he will appear next year. He did not make the stat sheet.


    Fred Evans: D

    See either Guion or Griffen above. 


    Overall Grade: B

    The Vikings limited running back LeSean McCoy to only 38 yards on eight carries and sacked quarterback Nick Foles four times.


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    Chad Greenway: C+

    Greenway finished with only five tackles against the Eagles. That was good for only fifth among the Vikings in the game. 


    Audie Cole: B-

    Cole, making his third straight start, finished with seven tackles and one quarterback hit.


    Erin Henderson: D

    The Vikings started the game with only two linebackers, and Henderson was not one of them. His playing time and his performance have taken a hit since he was cited for a DWI last month. He did not record a tackle in the game. 


    Michael Mauti: Incomplete


    Overall Grade: C

    Quarterback Nick Foles passed for 428 yards and three touchdowns; the linebackers have to take some of the blame for that total. Only the victory gives them a passing grade.


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    The Vikings only had two cornerbacks left to play on defense. They promoted Robert Steeples from the practice squad for the game, but he did not get into the game. 


    Chris Cook: Inactive

    Another season, and another injury for Cook, who has not been able to play an entire schedule yet in his career.   


    Xavier Rhodes: Inactive


    Marcus Sherels: C-

    Sherels finished with six tackles in the game and no passes defended.  


    Shaun Prater: B

    Prater made the first start of his career. He picked off quarterback Nick Foles in the third quarter. It was only the second interception all season for Foles. 


    Overall Grade: C-

    The Vikings gave up over 400 yards passing and three touchdowns—still, they stopped the Eagles enough to get the win.


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    Harrison Smith: B+

    Smith didn't start the game, as he was activated for the first time since Week 6. He finished with the second-most tackles in the game with eight. 


    Jamarca Sanford: D+

    Sanford only had three tackles in the game.


    Andrew Sendejo: C

    Sendejo got the start, but split time with Smith. He finished with four tackles, one of them for a loss. It will be interesting to see how much playing time Sendejo will get with Smith working his way back onto the field.   


    Robert Blanton: C

    Blanton, seeing plenty of playing time because the Vikings are thin at cornerback, led the defense with eight tackles.


    Overall Grade: C-

    The Vikings defense yielded 428 passing yards and three touchdowns—enough said.

Special Teams

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    Blair Walsh: B-

    After being perfect from beyond 50 yards last season, Walsh missed another one on Sunday. His 55-yard attempt was just wide, as he finished with two field goals and a total of 12 points. He did put all nine of his kickoffs in the end zone, resulting in seven touchbacks. 


    Jeff Locke: A-

    Locke only had two punts in the game, but they averaged 48.5 yards.  


    Cordarrelle Patterson: B+

    The Eagles did not allow Patterson even one opportunity to return a kick. His presence in the end zone had the Eagles kicking the ball short, and it gave the Vikings some very good field position. It did give four other players a chance to return kicks. 


    Marcus Sherels: B

    Sherels had one punt return for 13 yards on four chances.  


    Overall Grade: B