Uncertainty easier to plan for than AP

December, 12, 2013
12/12/13
3:00
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA – Every offense presents challenges for the opposing defensive coordinator. Ultimately, it is tougher to stop Adrian Peterson than to cope with playing the Minnesota Vikings without him.

Peterson
Peterson
“We prepare like everybody is healthy,” Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. “We prepare that all people that are in question, if we don't know if they are healthy, we're going to get their best, all of them are up, and we're going to prepare that way. And then we'll adjust as the week goes on and we get more information, just like we would during a game.”

Last week, the Eagles prepared to face the Detroit Lions with Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford in what was forecast as a “wintry mix” of rain and snow flurries. Instead, the field was buried in snow and Bush was a late scratch due to his calf injury.

“If something happens to one of those guys during a game, we would adjust accordingly, like we did in this game where all of a sudden at the last minute Reggie Bush wasn't up,” Davis said. “You just kind of prepare for all of them and then adjust as you go.”

The Vikings present more variables than most. Peterson injured his foot last week. Backup Toby Gerhart has a hamstring injury and could be out or limited. The Vikings will start Matt Cassel at quarterback for the second week in a row. Christian Ponder started the six games before that, and Josh Freeman remains in the mix.

“When you watch Minnesota, their gameplan doesn’t change if Adrian doesn’t play and Toby goes in,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said. “Toby’s a similar type back. We’re preparing as if he’s going to play.”

There is a bigger adjustment to the quarterback, Kelly said.

“”I don’t know if [the offense] changes much,” he said. “I just think they both have a little bit different skill set in terms of what they do. The gist of what Coach [Bill] Musgrave is doing there offensively doesn’t change.”

It will have to change at least a little if Peterson and Gerhart are out or hampered by injuries. They are the only two running backs who have carried the ball for the Vikings all season.

With the running game in doubt, Musgrave will have to try to get the ball to wideouts Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings. They represent challenges, too, but nothing like a healthy Adrian Peterson.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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