PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Written off by nearly everyone, the Minnesota Vikings wouldn’t let two extra days sitting around a hotel bring them down.
After all they’ve been through this season, it may have given them extra motivation.
Rookie Joe Webb threw for 195 yards and ran for a touchdown in his first career start filling in for an injured Brett Favre, and the lowly Vikings stunned Michael Vick and the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles 24-14 in the NFL’s first Tuesday game since 1946.
“I think this was a big win because it was a national game,” defensive end Jared Allen said. “We wanted to let people know that we are still here to play even though we went through a rough patch. It has been a crazy season and after the last two days and all we went through, this was a nice win.”
Adrian Peterson ran for 118 yards and a score, helping the 14-point underdogs knock Philadelphia out of contention for a first-round playoff bye.
The Eagles (10-5) could’ve secured a bye with victories over the Vikings (6-9) and against Dallas on Sunday coupled with a loss by either Chicago or Atlanta this weekend.
“We don’t deserve it after that performance,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “Every phase was terrible. We didn’t coach well enough. We didn’t play well enough. I’m disappointed in myself. It’s embarrassing.”
Now the Eagles are locked into the NFC’s No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6 seed on Jan. 8 or 9. They’ll have to win three playoff games to reach the Super Bowl. Their final game against the Cowboys is meaningless in the standings, so it’s likely Vick and most of the starters will rest.
Two days after a winter storm forced a postponement, there wasn’t even a snowflake visible. The game was switched from Sunday because of a howling storm that dumped about a foot of snow in the area — perhaps a good idea considering Philadelphia’s history of snowball-throwing fans.
But 42 years after fans got a bum rap for tossing snowballs at Santa — the man in the costume said it was playful pelting — the Eagles said snowballs didn’t factor in the decision to move the game.
“There were a lot of issues considered, but that was absolutely not among them,” said Pamela Browner White, the team’s senior vice president of public affairs and government relations.
Nine days after rallying from a 21-point deficit in the final 7:18 to beat the New York Giants on DeSean Jackson’s last-play, 65-yard punt return, there would be no miracle at the Linc for the Eagles. Fans started leaving before the two-minute warning.
The Vikings looked more like a team with a lot at stake rather than a group that’s ready to start a vacation. The win could help interim coach Leslie Frazier get the job permanently.
“It was a great effort by our players to battle the way that they had to all week and they showed perseverance that has become the hallmark of our team over the last few weeks,” Frazier said. “I can’t say enough about our players and the attitude they showed this week and I’m glad they were rewarded for it.”
This has been a miserable season for the Vikings, who ended last season with a loss in the NFC championship game. They’ve endured numerous injuries, an ongoing Favre saga, the firing of head coach Brad Childress and the collapse of the dome at their stadium.
Favre allegedly sent inappropriate messages and lewd photos to former New York Jets game emcee Jenn Sterger two years ago when they were both with the team. The NFL is investigating the allegations.
Vick, selected as the NFC Pro Bowl starter shortly before the game, mostly struggled after his 3-yard TD pass to Clay Harbor in the first quarter gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead. He lost two fumbles, threw an interception and was sacked six times.
Vick has been battered in recent games and he looked gimpy, gingerly walking to the huddle and off the field most of the night. Vick sustained a quad contusion on the game’s first play.
“I just tried to tolerate it throughout the game and I did. I have a strong will to win and I’ll do anything to win a football game. I just tried to go out and get through it.”
Trailing 17-7 to start the fourth quarter, the Eagles cut the deficit to 3 when Vick scored on a 10-yard TD run. But the Vikings answered on the ensuing drive. Peterson ran in from the 1 to put Minnesota up 24-14 with 6:43 left. The Pro Bowl running back showed no signs of the right knee injury that had him listed as questionable.
Favre was inactive for the Vikings because of a concussion, missing his second game in three weeks after an NFL-record 297 consecutive regular-season starts. He watched in street clothes on the sideline and enthusiastically thrust his arms in the air when Webb scored a TD.
The 41-year-old got hurt last week against the Chicago Bears and was listed as doubtful. Frazier said on Monday that Favre still hadn’t passed initial concussion testing.
With the way Webb played, the Vikings didn’t need Favre.
“He came out and did his job and did it well,” Peterson said.
The Vikings tied it at 7 in the final minute of the first half when Antoine Winfield sacked Vick, knocked the ball loose and returned the fumble 45 yards for a score.
Webb made it 17-7 on an impressive run. He looked like Vick dodging and weaving through the defense on his way into the end zone for a 17-7 lead.
Vick fumbled late in the third quarter at the Minnesota 23 to end a drive.
Many players thought the game should have been played Sunday night. So did Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who said Vince Lombardi would be “mocking us” for the postponement.
This was the third straight week the Vikings were affected by the weather. Their home game against the Giants on Dec. 12 was postponed a day after Minneapolis got 15 inches of snow. It was then moved to Detroit when the Metrodome roof collapsed.
Their game against Chicago last week was played at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium because of the damaged roof.
Despite having the day off Sunday, the Eagles secured their first division title since 2006 when the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants 45-17.
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