A Giant game today for the up and down Vikes
Minnesota (4-6) at New York Giants (7-3), noon
A trip to the Meadowlands will forever remind me of the 2000 playoff game when the Giants pummeled the Vikings 41-0. That game unofficially signaled the end of an underachieving era in Minnesota professional football. That team was supposed to avenge the 1998-99 team’s meltdown against Atlanta and finally return the purple to the Super Bowl. After 14 weeks that team was an impressive 11-2. But after a mini collapse forced them to go on the road to face the Giants in the NFC Championship game, the season was almost over before the Vikes’ #1 ranked offense took the field. The game was so lop-sided that Randy Moss frustratingly uttered these fateful words after the game, "It's going to be hard for us to win a Super Bowl in Minnesota. I don't want to really say Minnesota is never going to win the Super Bowl, but it's going to be hard for them to get it. ... I can't really say I'm going to be a Minnesota Viking in a couple years."
While today’s game in New York isn’t an NFC Championship game with a ticket to the big show on the line, it is a very important game for this team that symbolizes inconsistency. The NFC this year is weak and Minnesota’s schedule is very favorable. With an upset today and a win next week against the struggling Detroit Lions at home, the Vikings will all of a sudden be in the mix for a wild card berth.
That last sentence is harder to type than believe.
But these days, an 8-8 record might back you in to post-season play. Then again, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Adrian Peterson will not be exploding down the sidelines today. Tarvaris Jackson will be in the sights of one of the best pass rushes in the game, part of me (my brain) thinks he’ll last a quarter and a half before we see Kelly Holcomb. Throw in the fact that the Giants are hungry and trying to keep pace with America’s Team in the NFC east and today’s game doesn’t look good on paper.
But to a Giants fan, the 2000 NFC Championship game didn’t look good on paper.
Minnesota 24, New York Giants 7
Wow! The Vikings secondary comes up big in the first half with two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown by Darren Sharper who always has a big game in New York. No surprise in how Minnesota’s defensive line played the run holding NYG running back Reuben Droughns to 39 yards. Eli Manning is struggling, big time. His receivers and him need to have a sit down if they expect to come back in the second half. Of course Eli has known bad days before.
Actually, I’m enjoying watching an opponents quarterback struggle for a change.
That said, no one will confuse Tarvaris Jackson with Tom Brady anytime soon but he is avoiding the big mistake and if he can continue to make a play or two and just hand the ball off to Taylor to shorten the game, the Vikings might pull this off.
Minnesota 41, New York Giants 17
Zygi’s team is on the rise.
It’s a sweet day to be a Vikings fan. It’s even sweeter if you’re Vikings owner and New Jersey native Zygi Wilf.
Wilf was cut to multiple times during today’s broadcast getting “Zygi” with it, flaunting a smile that seemed to say, “Das ist gut.” In what can only be described as a thumping of the NFC wild card leading New York Giants and their quarterback Eli “the poor man’s” Manning, the Vikings flexed their defensive muscles today and are making some noise as they inch ever closer to the second wild card spot.
Poor Eli. He isn’t the biggest Vikes fan. Only twice has he been picked 4 times in one game and both times happened against Minnesota. Today’s pick fest was especially fruitful, leading directly to 21 points on run backs by Sharper, Dwight Smith, and Chad Greenway. Minnesota’s offense can always use the help and even though the offensive game wasn’t pretty, the team moved to 5-0 this year when scoring 20+ points. The Giants got a heavy dose of Chester Taylor and he had a respectable, albeit understated game with 78 yards rushing on 31 attempts. The story in today’s game was the pressure Vikings defense put on Eli and how he, ah-hem… responded.
Let’s hope this two game winning streak continues. Next week’s match-up at the Metrodome looms large for the Vikings. Detroit (6-5) will hope to end a 3 game slide and maintain their spot as #2 in the NFC north. Adrian “All Day” Peterson is on schedule to make his return to the line-up and contribute to NFL’s #1 rushing attack. If the defense can stay hot Zygi might have a reason to smile big come this January.