Updating yet again: Boy, just as we were getting all nervous and hand-wringy here in the Eagletarian section of the press box, the Eagles came up with the greatest screen since HD TV. Seventy-one yards from a previously ineffective Brian Westbrook, Nick Cole rampaging ahead in space the way Shawn Andrews used to. Jared Allen, the guy who stole the ball from Donovan McNabb earlier, had far less success chasing down Westy. It's 23-14, Minnesota just punted with 6:07 left, and the Vikes fans are heading home to shovel the walk. Don't forget to sprinkle the ice-melt.
Previously: Tra Thomas got abused by Jared Allen, and now the Vikes have the ball. Bad blocking scheme, bad execution. Allen should be the focus on every pass snap, with Thomas getting help. This is not feeling like a win right now, even with the Birds clinging to that 2-point lead.
Every now and then, the officials pull something strange out of their back pockets which is not a yellow hankie. That might very well have been intentional grounding on Donovan McNabb a few minutes back. What it most definitely was not, was a sack. Did the whistle blow? No, it did not. A sack? Really.
Previously: Welcome to the playoffs, Tavaris Jackson. The Trent Cole inside push messed up his throw, which Asante Samuel noticed way before intended receiver Sidney Rice did. That's why they pay Asante the big bucks. Samuel brought the pick back for a TD and a 16-7 Eagles lead, with Jason Avant bulldozing Jackson at the goalline for good measure.
But give Jackson credit -- he has led the Vikes right back, aided by a 15-yard excessive celebration celebration following Samuel's touchdown, his league-record fourth pick for a TD in the postseason. Peterson just closed it to 16-14 on a 3-yard run to the left side, aided by his fullback being allowed to shuffle-step sideways right at the snap without being called for illegal motion, in the unofficial and probably erroneous view of your Eagletarian.
Previously: A 34-yard Donovan McNabb completion to DeSean Jackson set up a 31-yard David Akers field goal and a 9-7 Birds lead midway through the second quarter. Akers and Jackson are the stars of the day so far for the Eagles.
Eagles really should have scored a TD on that drive. You kind of get the feeling they're going to need one at some point.
Previously: The Eagles had been doing a really good job handling Adrian Peterson, until third and 2 from the Birds' 40, and somehow, when he got through the line, there was nobody in sight. Vikings up 7-6, 11:05 left in the second. Guess that's why he's Adrian Peterson. He had four carries for 2 yards in the first quarter.
Updating previously: Correll Buckhalter's 27-yard run helped the Birds maneuver for a 51-yard David Akers field goal on the final play of the first quarter, and a 6-0 lead. It was the longest postseason field goal in Eagles history. David is liking the dome vibe thus far.
Proveiously: How about that DeSean Jackson? Give that rookie a shot at the league's 32nd-ranked punt coverage team, and he'll take it. First Vikings punt came back 62 yards, setting up a David Akers field goal and a 3-0 Eagles lead. It would be nice if the Birds started protecting Donovan McNabb a little, instead of having him run for his life every snap, but so far, that's a minor quibble,
Updating previously: Weird, ominous omen department --- Eagles wideout Greg Lewis just rode off from warmups on a cart with some sort of leg injury, it appeared. He was accompanied by a team physician, Dr. Paul Marchetto, about half an hour before kickoff. Nobody in the Eagletarian sector of the Metrodome press box saw exactly what happened, but we are told trainers helped Lewis off the field.
Previously: The inactives are out, and the big news is no Pat Williams clogging the middle for the Vikes.
The big defensive tackle has missed the last two weeks with a shoulder injury. He was listed as "questionable" going into today, though he practiced a little last week and said he wanted to play. Without Williams, he Vikes' No. 1 NFL rushing defense allowed 233 yards on the ground the final two weeks of the season.
As expected, Minnesota also is missing injured defensive end Ray Edwards. The Eagles' list includes L.J. Smith (shoulder), and the rest of the usual suspects. Victor Abiamiri (foot), who would come in handy today against Adrian Peterson, was declared "out" on Friday.
The early Metrodome arrivals seem to include a very noticeable sprinkling of Eagles fans. The E-A-G-L-E-S! chant has already made several appearances. Outside the dome, it's sunny and 2 degrees, officially, with a wind-chill of minus-16. So domes are good things.
Stay tuned for updates.