News & Analysis

MIN-PHI grades: Wentz struggles, but Eagles' defense lockdown in win

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Defensive end Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles pumps up the crowd against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles 21, Minnesota Vikings 10

Here are the highest-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Eagles' Week 7 home win over the previously undefeated Vikings.

Philadelphia Eagles

Quarterback grade: Carson Wentz, 38.7

Ball security issues plague Wentz

As well as tossing two early interceptions, Carson Wentz also fumbled twice against a violent Vikings’ defense. He looked tentative for the first time, forcing throws into coverage on a number of occasions. Wentz had a QB rating of only 2.8 when under pressure, despite playing behind an offensive line that held up on 22 of 28 pass plays. The three drops didn’t help, but even with those discounted, he had his worst game in terms of accuracy.

Carson Wentz

Top offensive performances

LT Jason Peters, 82.7

C Jason Kelce, 81.4

RG Brandon Brooks, 82.2

WR Josh Huff, 72.1

TE Brent Celek, 67.4

Running backs fail to capitalize despite dominance up front

Three of the Eagles’ five offensive lineman recorded top-five grades, with Jason Peters and Brandon Brooks earning strong grades in particular. The running back position, however, remains an issue. Ryan Mathews had another key fumble late in the fourth quarter, even if it didn't ultimately cost the game. Time will tell whether that mistake loses him the trust of the coaches. Mathews was effective otherwise, carrying 14 times for 56 yards, but the rotation has some major flaws. Sproles had another drop against Minnesota, taking his total to three from 20 catchable targets, and rookie Wendell Smallwood continued to underwhelm. A dearth of playmakers persists as the Eagles’ biggest issue on offense.

Top defensive performances

S Malcolm Jenkins, 88.4

DE Brandon Graham, 87.6

MLB Jordan Hicks, 86.2

S Rodney McLeod, 84.8

DE Connor Barwin, 82.9

Edge rushers feast on Vikings’ weakness

Brandon Graham’s reintroduction to a one-gap scheme has produced predictable results. He’s currently our second-highest-graded defender, and top in terms of pure pass-rush grade. Against Minnesota, Graham collected a sack strip, three hits and four hurries from 36 rushes. Connor Barwin was also effective, generating four combined QB pressures. The starters did consistent damage, but there were also useful contributions from backups. Vinny Curry managed four hurries and Steven Means forced a fumble with his lone pressure of the day. Sunday was a complete performance from the Eagles’ front.

Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback grade: Sam Bradford, 68.3

Bradford stymied by former coaches

Doug Pederson and his staff used their insight into their former starting quarterback to dominate the Vikings’ offense throughout the game. Bradford was punished frequently behind a porous offensive line. Although he was largely solid, Bradford could not challenge the top of the Eagles’ defense with so much pressure in his face. The serious injuries he suffered might have hampered his movement skills, reducing confidence in his ability to evade the rush. He threw accurately on 24 of 32 targeted passes, but averaged only 5.5 yards per attempt.

Sam Bradford vs pressure

Top offensive performances

C Joe Berger, 85.0

TE Rhett Ellison, 72.0

RG Brandon Fusco, 71.7

WR Stefon Diggs, 66.8

WR Adam Thielen, 65.3

Turnstyle tackles a huge problem

The search for a competent tackle goes on for the Vikings. Jeremiah Sirles, T.J. Clemmings, and Jake Long endured a torrid afternoon in Philadelphia. Sirles’ start to his Minnesota career had been respectable, until now. He allowed two sacks, two hits, and four hurries from 39 dropbacks, earning a 30.4 pass-protection grade. Clemmings and Long were equally poor. Chasing the game, the Eagles’ pass rushers teed off from their Wide-9 alignment. Clemmings gave up five combined pressures (two knockdowns), while Long allowed a pair of sacks and a hurry in only 10 snaps. The Vikings’ defense is evidently capable of winning games single-handedly, but concerns abound over their ability to come from behind.

Top defensive performances

DE Danielle Hunter, 80.3

CB Captain Munnerlyn, 76.7

S Andrew Sendejo, 76.0

CB Xavier Rhodes, 75.3

S Harrison Smith, 74.2

Vikings’ defense records typically stingy performance

Although the Eagles’ had some success on extended plays, outside the script of the offense, the unit generally struggled to move the football. The Vikings’ back seven has quality in abundance, from the linebackers through to the secondary. Eric Kendricks gave up seven catches, but for just 63 yards. Xavier Rhodes allowed a QB rating of just 10.8, picking off a pass on one of his five targets. Depth could prove a problem down the line, but for now, Minnesota’s defensive unit ranks amongst the top in the league.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Eagles DE Brandon Graham

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

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