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Bleacher Report – Vikings

5 things the Vikings can take away from the Eagles’ Super Bowl win

By Matthew Coller

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles are champions, every team will begin studying how they went 13-3, beat the No. 1 defense in the NFL in the NFC title game and beat one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Here are five things the Vikings can focus on this offseason to become more like the Eagles….

Keep beefing up the offensive and defensive line

Philadelphia’s offensive and defensive lines were the best in the NFL and when it came to the playoffs and Super Bowl they shined. Quarterback Nick Foles was not sacked a single time in Philly’s 41-33 win over the New England Patriots and Foles picked the Pats apart for 373 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles were also incredibly effective on the ground, rushing for 164 yards at 6.1 yards per carry. All of that started up front. Center Jason Kelce was the No. 1 rated player at his position by Pro Football Focus and right tackle Lane Johnson is also one of the elites. As a group, they were mobile, smart and physical.

The Vikings have a good start with a quality tackle in Riley Reiff and top-notch young center in Pat Elflein, but there’s still work to do. In either free agency or the draft, they will have to replace retiring Joe Berger and it’s possible Mike Remmers could move to right guard if the Vikings draft a right tackle in the first round.

While Minnesota already has an impressive defensive line, the Eagles proved you can never have enough talent. They ran out situational players like Chris Long and Derek Barnett, who routinely impacted the game. The Vikings may need a three-technique DT if Tom Johnson leaves in free agency. Getting another role player or two in order to keep players fresh into the fourth quarter is a must.

Fourth downs

Mike Zimmer’s decisions on fourth down have been very good over the past two years. He’s been aggressive and rarely left possible points out on the field. Doug Pederson showed with two key fourth down conversions in the Super Bowl that being aggressive can pay off in big ways. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Vikings and other teams going for it more often. Reports are that Pederson has help with in-game situations from analytics experts. That might be something to consider if the Vikings don’t already have that.

RPOs

The college game is officially in the NFL, everyone. The Vikings’ offense was terrific this season, using spread concepts like lining up Jerick McKinnon at wide receiver. But you can bet that teams all around the league are going to install run-pass option plays after seeing the Eagles’ success in the postseason.

Three RBs, three TEs

Corey Clement? Trey Burton? Yes, these were two of the heroes of the Super Bowl. Clement, the Eagles’ No. 3 running back, caught a 22-yard touchdown pass and led the team with 100 yards receiving. Burton threw a touchdown on a trick play. He was a key role player in the red zone down the stretch.

The Vikings will likely lose McKinnon to free agency. Replacing him with another running back who can catch out of the backfield is important. Also tight ends David Morgan and Kyle Rudolph were impressive this year, but adding another tight end to the mix (rather than taking a swing on a long shot in the draft) could give them even more opportunities to gain an advantage with personnel.

Have a backup plan

The Vikings nailed it last season by signing Case Keenum to a one-year, $2 million deal. He gave them a shot at winning the Super Bowl despite the loss of starter Sam Bradford. For the Eagles, Nick Foles took his team to a championship after losing Carson Wentz to a knee injury. No matter who the Vikings have as their No. 1 quarterback, they will need to make sure they have a proven backup. A team in win-now mode like the Vikings cannot sacrifice a season because of an injury at QB. And Foles shows us that the year isn’t (always) over if the starter goes down.

The post 5 things the Vikings can take away from the Eagles’ Super Bowl win appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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