Defensive tackle Darwin Walker is expected to make his way back on to the field Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field after missing a game with a sprained left knee. Nothing spoke more loudly about Walker’s value than the 311 rushing yards the Minnesota Vikings rolled to in his absence.
Walker spent the last six seasons in an Eagles uniform before he was traded to Buffalo and then here when his contract situation became an obstacle for the Bills. In dealing Walker, Philadelphia picked up weak-side linebacker Takeo Spikes, who has been steady yet unspectacular. Still, the deal has worked out for the Eagles. Walker was going to lose his starting job to Brodrick Bunkley, and in dealing a backup who had the potential to be unhappy if he remained, they received a starter in a position that has been revamped.
``It’s special because I had a great career in Philadelphia,’’ Walker said. ``I enjoyed my time in Philadelphia. I look forward to going back there and playing. I don’t hold any malice. I’m extremely happy where I am now. I wouldn’t take it back for the world. But at the same time I enjoyed being in Philadelphia and I’ve got a lot of great memories there.’’
While Walker is expected to return, Anthony Adams probably earned himself more playing time. He was the lone player on defense Lovie Smith singled out for solid play vs. the Vikings.
The Eagles have improved greatly at tackle this season with Bunkley and Mike Patterson. A weak spot a year ago when Philadelphia had major struggles vs. the run, it’s been a source of strength thus far for the ninth-ranked run defense. Patterson is third on the team in tackles. What the Eagles have not been generating is a lot of turnovers. Playmaking cornerback Lito Sheppard returns this week, and they’re counting on the linebackers to step up. That includes Spikes, so it’s a big game for men on both ends of the two trades it took for them to find new homes.