With the back-and-forth over the decision to postpone the Eagles-Vikings game (hopefully) behind us, it is time to turn the attention back to the field.

The idle Eagles clinched the NFC East on Sunday after the New York Giants fell to the Green Bay Packers, 45-17. But a better playoff seeding remains at stake when the Eagles host Minnesota on Tuesday night in a snow-delayed game at Lincoln Financial Field.

If they win, they still will be in the running for one of the top two seeds and the first-round byes that come with the plum playoff positions. If they lose, they would be locked into the No. 3 seed and would host the sixth-seeded team on Jan. 8 or 9.

But first there are the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL's first Tuesday game in 64 years. A snowstorm and concern for public safety pushed the game back two days - to the dismay of some Eagles and many fans.

It's difficult to say which team benefited most from the postponement.

Despite additional recovery time, Brett Favre likely won't play, according to various reports. The Vikings quarterback did not pass the first part of post-concussion testing on Monday and was still listed as doubtful. Favre suffered a concussion in the second quarter of a loss to the Chicago Bears last week.

"He's still having trouble with the initial test, which leads you to believe it's going to be very, very difficult today to do anything other than where he is right now," Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier told Vikings reporters.

If the 41-year-old quarterback can't play, 24-year-old Joe Webb will get his first career NFL start.

Running back Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he would play. The NFC's third-leading rusher was listed as questionable with a thigh bruise, but he said the extra two days of rest "helps a lot."

Although a healthy Peterson improves the Vikings' chances against the 14-point-favorite Eagles, placid weather conditions could assist the home team. The forecast calls for clear skies, mild winds, and a game-time temperature of 32 degrees, vastly different from Sunday's driving snowstorm that could have neutralized the Eagles' speed advantage.

The status for the Eagles' injured players remained the same Monday after a walk-through, according to a team spokesman. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the Eagles' fastest player, was listed as probable for the game with a foot sprain, as were cornerback Asante Samuel (knee) and tackle Winston Justice (knee).

All three are expected to play, as is defensive tackle Mike Patterson (knee). Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley (elbow) is out, and rookie Jamar Chaney will start for the second straight week in his place.

The Eagles treated Monday as if it were a normal Saturday before a Sunday home game. There was no media access to the team's practice facility for the morning walk-through at the NovaCare Complex. The Eagles reconvened later to stay at the Airport Marriott.

Minnesota, which stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel for two extra days, practiced at the Eagles' indoor bubble on Monday.

The 5-9 Vikings have had a whirlwind month.

First, Brad Childress was fired as coach on Nov. 22. Then after two victories under interim coach Frazier, the roof on the team's home stadium collapsed under a heavy snowfall. The Vikings were forced to play a "home" game in Detroit and then another at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.

Sunday's postponement was the capper. Karma could be in the Vikings' favor, however. The Eagles still have a lot to play for with a first-round bye on the line. If they were to lose, the Eagles could rest some of their starters in the season finale with nothing left to play for.

If they beat the Vikings, the Eagles have only five days to prepare for the Dallas Cowboys and a game that could determine whether they get a postseason week off. The Eagles have a legitimate chance to earn the No. 2 seed: They need Chicago to lose at Green Bay on Sunday and, of course, to win their final two games.

The Eagles will not know their fate before kickoff on Sunday. Their game with the Cowboys, originally set for 1 p.m., has been moved to 4:15 p.m., the same time as the Bears-Packers showdown.

Eagles Playoff Scenarios

The NFC East champion Eagles are assured of at least the NFC's No. 3 seed but still could secure a higher seeding and a first-round playoff bye.

The Eagles could clinch the No. 1 seed if they beat the Vikings on Tuesday and the Cowboys on Sunday AND the Falcons lose to the Panthers on Sunday AND the Bears lose to the Packers on Sunday.

The Eagles can clinch the No. 2 seed if they beat both the Vikings and the Cowboys AND the Bears lose to the Packers.

All other scenarios have the Eagles finishing with the No. 3 seed, which means they would host the No. 6 seed in the first round of the playoffs on Jan. 8 or 9. The No. 6 seed will be one of three teams: the Packers, Giants, or Buccaneers.

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Contact staff writer Jeff McLane
at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.
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