The Minnesota Vikings were not foremost on the Eagles' minds yesterday evening.
"I know nothing about 'em," left offensive tackle Tra Thomas said. "I know [Brad Childress]. But as far as their defense and everything, what they've got going on, we don't know until we sit down and watch film."
Childress, of course, is the former Eagles offensive coordinator who coaches the Vikings. His 10-6 team that started out 1-3 and changed quarterbacks a couple times won the NFC North title yesterday, beating the Giants, 20-19, on a last-second, 50-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell.
"He had a heck of a win today," Eagles coach Andy Reid said, when asked about playing Childress and the Vikings. "What a great job he did. I haven't quite got to that point yet. I'm going to enjoy this one, and we'll get onto that one tomorrow. I'm happy for Brad that he will get a chance to get into [the playoffs] and experience this."
Correll Buckhalter said: "Going against Brad is going to be real special. I know him real well."
The Eagles won in Minnesota last season, 23-16, holding Adrian Peterson to 70 yards on 20 carries. They also beat the Vikes in the playoffs en route to the Super Bowl 4 years ago, when Childress still ran the Eagles' offense.
"That's who we're playing? Minnesota?" strong safety Quintin Mikell said, when asked about the Vikings. "Good team, man. The first thing you think about is Adrian Peterson. He's a great player . . . He's the man up there. But right now, we're just going to enjoy this win and come to work tomorrow."
Donovan McNabb fared very well against the Minnesota defense last season, despite Childress' familiarity with him - 23-for-36 for 333 yards and a touchdown.
"Brad is a good friend of mine . . . We talk occasionally, you know I also have my offensive coordinator and quarterback coach from college over there as well [Kevin Rogers], so we talk. I'm really happy for Brad," McNabb said. "Everyone pretty much counted them out in the beginning, when he pretty much benched Tarvaris [Jackson] and went with Gus [Frerotte], and they were able to rally behind Gus . . . all of a sudden now, Tarvaris is back as the starter and they're rallying behind Tarvaris, and you are seeing a team that has truly bought into Brad's philosophy. And they seem to be playing well, with a lot of intensity.
"Knowing what was on the line [against the Giants] they still played well, so I'm happy for him. Now with that said, come Sunday when we play . . . we're enemies."
Defensive end Darren Howard, the unofficial Eagles comeback player of the year with 10 sacks, his highest total since 2004 for New Orleans, warned about Peterson:
"We've got to swarm around that guy. He can make guys miss. He can run through guys. We've really got to tackle," Howard said. "And, really, beyond Week 2, we don't practice tackling. It will be more will than it will be skill. You've got to surround that guy and not let him show out, because he can really put 200 yards on you, real easy."
Reid didn't need to think too long when asked if next week's playoff game might somehow be a letdown after Sunday's amazing emotional catharsis.
"No," he said.
Yes, it was amazing
Just a few more quotes on the wonder of it all:
"They say anything can happen in football. Today, it did," Correll Buckhalter said, after setting up the Birds' first score and tallying the second, in what could have been his last game as an Eagle, but wasn't.
"We're here for a reason," Quintin Mikell concluded, from the Eagles' long, strange road to the postseason.
This is Andy Reid's seventh playoff appearance in 10 years; only Indianapolis, with nine appearances in 10 years, tops that mark . . . The Eagles did not commit a penalty for the first time this season. Their 74 penalties in 16 games are their lowest-ever figure for a full season . . . The Birds have won their last six December games against Dallas, by a combined score of 152-39 . . . According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Eagles yesterday became the first team in NFL history to record two fumble return touchdowns of 70-or-more yards in the same quarter . . . L.J. Smith (shoulder) was inactive . . . That was Sheldon Brown's first pick of the season yesterday. Kinda timely. *