Vikings turnovers: Kevin O'Connell says he has 'got to coach it better' after four giveaways vs. Eagles

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Kevin O'Connell
(Getty Images)

One of the oldest football quips in the book is that the key to winning the game is to win the turnover battle. The Vikings are finding out the hard way just how true that statement is. 

Minnesota dropped to 0-2 on the season Thursday night, losing 34-28 against Philadelphia. Kevin O'Connell's crew shot themselves in the foot all night, finishing the game with four turnovers to the Eagles' one. 

With the quartet of giveaways, Minnesota has now coughed the ball up seven times through the first two games of the season after Kirk Cousins threw an interception and lost two fumbles in the Vikings' season opening loss to the Buccaneers in Week 1. 

O'Connell took accountability after the Thursday night loss, stating that he needed to coach the team better after a second consecutive week of multiple turnovers. 

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"Very much similar to last week, turning the football over," O'Connell said. "Seven to one in turnovers lost in two games. Clearly, I’ve got to coach it better. We talk about it every day, ball security is a major part of our football philosophy."

Vikings turnovers vs. Eagles

It wasn't all on Cousins this time around. Four different Vikings players turned the ball over against the Eagles on Thursday night. 

The giveaways started early for the Vikings, and they nearly put the game quickly out of reach. It began with returner Brandon Powell fumbling the ball on an Eagles' punt in the first quarter.

While Philadelphia gave it right back six plays later with a Jalen Hurts interception, Minnesota returned the favor the very next play, as Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox punched the ball out from Mattison's grasp, giving the Eagles' excellent field position. 

The two early turnovers did not lead to points against, as Eagles kicker Jake Elliott missed a 55-yard field goal after the Mattison fumble. However the last two contributed to 10 points for the Eagles on the scoreboard. 

Justin Jefferson had a controversial fumble in the final minute of the first half, as he tried to reach for the end zone on a 30-yard completion, but lost control of the ball as he was over the pylon. It was reviewed and called a touchback instead of a touchdown, and the Eagles wound up hitting a field goal to end the half. 

"I'm putting it a lot on myself," Jefferson said on the fumble. "Fumbling in the end zone like that when we need points and we're driving and having that momentum. I was telling my teammates that's on me and it won't happen again."

Whatever was said at halftime didn't sink in, as just two plays into the third quarter, the Vikings gave up the ball for a fourth time. Eagles edge rusher Josh Sweat got to Cousins in the backfield and knocked the ball out of his hands before he could make a throw. Just 33 seconds later and Hurts dove from the one-yard line for an Eagles touchdown. 

Turnovers weren't the only issue for Minnesota. The Vikings' run defense was stormed over by D'Andre Swift and the rest of the Eagles' rushing attack, giving up 259 yards on the ground.

Meanwhile, Alexander Mattison and the rushing game for Minnesota was practically non-existent. Mattison finished the game with 28 yards on eight carries, while Ty Chandler gained no yards on his sole possession. 

The Vikings have a chance to respond in Week 3 with a matchup against the Chargers at home. With an extended break in between games, it gives O'Connell and his crew plenty of time to work on their ball security. 

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Bryan Murphy is an NHL content producer at The Sporting News.