The Vikings drafted outside linebacker Janarius Robinson with the 134th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2021 draft. Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett suffered an ACL tear last Sunday against the Detroit Lions, which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Barnett’s absence opens up space for Robinson, who never got a chance to show what he could do in Minnesota. Robinson sustained an ACL injury of his own during training camp last year, which cost him the entirety of his rookie campaign.
In the meantime, the Vikings replaced both their general manager and their head coach. Robinson returned to camp in 2022, but the new regime waived him on August 30 as part of the last round of preseason cuts before declaring an initial 53-man roster. Minnesota re-signed the OLB to the practice squad the following day, where he remained until Philly swooped in to sign him Tuesday, per the Eagles’ official website.
Vikings’ Defense Dominant in Win Over Packers
Robinson may have eventually found his way into a significant role with the Vikings defense, though the unit looks as though it will be just fine without him.
Minnesota’s pass rushers wreaked havoc on Green Bay Packers‘ quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, knocking down the reigning MVP five times and logging four sacks. Former Packers edge Za’Darius Smith and long-time Vikings fixture Danielle Hunter each got to Rodgers once, and the team forced the QB into two turnovers on the day — one interception and one fumble.
Rodgers was unable to account for a touchdown of any kind, as the Packers scored only seven points on the day via a rushing TD by A.J. Dillon. Green Bay gained just 338 yards over the course of the game.
Vikings, Eagles Shaping up as Top NFC Matchup Early in Season
It wasn’t only the Vikings’ defense that shined Sunday. Kevin O’Connell’s offensive scheme allowed wide receiver Justin Jefferson to slice his way through the Packers’ defense on the way to nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
The impressive performances on both sides of the football bode well for the Vikings, as they head to Philadelphia for what could prove to be one of the premier NFC matchups of the entire season.
The Eagles are also 1-0 and were a trendy pick to win the NFC East after a quality draft and the addition of wideout A.J. Brown to a what was already a playoff team in 2021. That prediction looks even stronger now that Dallas Cowboys‘ quarterback Dak Prescott is headed to the sideline for several weeks with a thumb injury.
The Vikings, on the other hand, manhandled their biggest rival for the NFC North in Week 1 and may well also prove the class of their division. Minnesota’s defense will need a similar performance on Sunday against a high-powered Eagles’ offense, though Philly is likely struggle to keep the Vikings’ attack in check based on their first performance of the season.
The Eagles allowed 35 points to the Lions last weekend, and now the unit must move forward absent the injured Barnett.