Philadelphia Eagles arrive in Minnesota for Super Bowl LII matchup against New England Patriots
The Philadelphia Eagles disappointed fans here when they knocked off the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game at Philadelphia, earning a place opposite the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
But the Twin Cities extended the welcome mat on Sunday.
The Eagles arrived in the afternoon, the day before the start of a weeklong series of news conferences and practices leading up to next Sunday’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Patriots are scheduled to have a sendoff Monday morning outside Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., before departing for Minneapolis.
The teams are staying in hotels adjacent to the gigantic Mall of America. Both will participate in Super Bowl Opening Night, the annual news conference and celebration that will be held Monday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Eagles will practice at an indoor facility at the University of Minnesota. The Patriots will practice at the Vikings’ indoor facility in Eden Prairie.
The defending Super Bowl-champion Patriots are 4 ½-point favorites in what will be their third Super Bowl appearance in four years.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who suffered a concussion during the AFC title game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, practiced for the second consecutive day on Sunday, but he remains in concussion protocol.
Gronkowski caught a team-best 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season.
Quarterback Tom Brady has been happy to see Gronkowski on the field again.
“Obviously, it hurts when he’s not out there for a lot of reasons,” Brady told reporters Saturday.
According to multiple reports and all indications, the Indianapolis Colts are ready to hire Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after the Super Bowl. The Colts were also interested in Mike Vrabel, the former New England player-turned-Houston defensive coordinator, before the Tennessee Titans hired him to be their coach.
McDaniels, 41, who was 11-17 as Denver’s coach before being fired during the 2010 season would be taking over a Colts team that finished 4-12 and last in the AFC South under Chuck Pagano.
This might not be the end of the line for 39-year-old Patriots linebacker James Harrison.
Harrison, who turns 40 in May and was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers last month, told Mike Reiss of ESPN he envisions playing well beyond this year’s Super Bowl.
“I maybe want to play a year at 40,” he said, “maybe 41.”
Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer
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