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Week 15 preview: Vikings vs. Eagles; Harrison Smith returns


Week 15 of the NFL season features another meaningless game for the Vikings (3-9-1) against a team fighting for its playoff life. The Eagles (8-5) are one-game ahead of the Cowboys for the lead in the NFC East.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: Draft positioning. The Vikings are currently slotted in the No. 4 spot for the draft, but they're teetering on the edge of picking closer to tenth than first. Think of this: If the Vikings would have left Baltimore with a win, and the Browns would have beaten the Patriots, the Vikings would be in line for the ninth pick. It's coming down to the wire, that's for sure.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET: The Vikings finished off a rough 6-10 season in 2010 with a week 17 win at Philadelphia, 24-14. Joe Webb started at quarterback and he finished the game with 195 passing yards and one rushing touchdown, Antoine Winfield returned a Michael Vick fumble for a touchdown, and Adrian Peterson rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown.

PLAYER IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cordarrelle Patterson. The rookie wide receiver has come on strong in recent weeks. He scored on a 79-yard touchdown last week against the Ravens. Quarterback Matt Cassel believes Patterson is "as good as they come."

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Here's what veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings told the Pioneer Press about head coach Leslie Frazier.

He's definitely been holding things together. As far as the future, I don't know; from a players' standpoint, we don't control that. That all goes from upstairs down. All we can do is control what we do, and that's what he's been doing, making sure he's been hitting the points of emphasis. It's about us executing.

INJURY REPORT: While running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart are questionable to play, there are a bunch of other injuries that could leave the Vikings short-handed.

THE LATEST LINE:Depending on which sports book you look at, the Eagles are favored by as many as six points. The over/under for total points scored in the game is 51. 

PREDICTION: The Eagles have one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL, and Nick Foles has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league this season. This game, aside from being in Minnesota, has all the makings of a total blowout. Eagles 34, Vikings 17.

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