Sunday wild-card game previews: Vikings-Saints and Seahawks-Eagles

Here is a look at Sunday’s opening round games of the NFL playoffs, including the broadcasting TV network for each contest. You can also livestream these games on the Yahoo Sports App.

All times are Eastern.

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints, 1:05 p.m., Fox

Dalvin Cook went 10-4 this season. The Vikings were 0-2 without him.

What’s that? Running backs don’t have individual records? Quarterbacks shouldn’t either because football is a team game, but the final two games showed how much Cook has meant to the Vikings this season.

The do-everything third-year running back is returning from a shoulder injury and right on time for the Vikings, who face the Saints in a wild-card game on Sunday.

The Vikings have plenty of stars and Kirk Cousins will get all of the credit or blame for what happens Sunday. But Cook is their most valuable player.

Minnesota Vikings' Dalvin Cook (33) carries against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
A rested Dalvin Cook could give the Saints problems on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Perhaps the time off came at the right time for Cook. He suffered a shoulder injury in Week 15. He previously had a chest injury, and his numbers dipped after that. Or, it’s possible he was wearing down under the weight of a career-high workload. Either way, the Vikings lost both games without Cook to end the season.

This week, Cook said he was healthy and also refreshed. The health part is huge, but so is the notion that Cook is refreshed. He had 1,654 total yards and 13 total touchdowns. He dealt with injuries in each of his first two seasons, but got 303 touches this season. Cook had just 258 touches in his first two NFL seasons combined.

The Vikings are one of the better No. 6 seeds you’ll find, but they’re also facing one of the best No. 3 seeds ever. Since 1990, only three 13-3 division champions haven’t gotten a bye: 1999 Titans, 2011 Saints and 2019 Saints. It’s shocking New Orleans is playing this weekend.

The Saints are playing very well lately, with quarterback Drew Brees and receiver Michael Thomas setting records, Alvin Kamara starting to look like his normal self and a defense that has been pretty good most of the season. Even as a No. 3 seed, the Saints are a Super Bowl contender.

They could also be a one-and-done because the Vikings are capable. Minnesota’s ability to pull off the upset rests in large part on Cook, and whether he’s recharged after a couple of weeks out with an injury.

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:40 p.m., NBC

In Week 16, Carson Wentz said a showdown against the Dallas Cowboys was probably the biggest game of his career. Then that win would have meant nothing had the Eagles lost to the New York Giants in Week 17.

Wentz passed those tests. The Eagles won both and an NFC East championship. That wipes away a lot of the negativity over a disappointing season. People will just remember the 2019 Eagles made the playoffs. That’s all they remember about the 2018 Eagles too, not the underachieving that preceded that playoff trip.

But this truly is the biggest game of Wentz’s career. He’ll lead the Eagles in a wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks.

It seems strange, but this is Wentz’s first playoff game. It’s not like he was Deshaun Watson and played in a College Football Playoff title game, either. Sunday will be huge in defining what we think of Wentz as a player.

Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz passes during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz passes during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

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