Vikings run defense to be tested vs. Giants

The Vikings are up to fourth in run defense, but the New York Giants will present a massive challenge Sunday. The Giants were nearly as successful running the ball against the Redskins as the Vikings were against the Bills.

A key to winning football games, especially in the month of December, is to be able to run the football.

That's exactly what the Giants were able to do as they started the month of December by beating the Washington Redskins 31-7, a win that was aided by the combined 33 runs for 200 yards and four touchdowns by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.

What was particularly impressive about the running game's performance Sunday was that they were able to find success despite Washington's attempt to load the box up with eight and nine men.

Instead, the Giants found ways to open up holes for Jacobs and Bradshaw to exploit. Jacobs recorded his first 100-yard rushing performance since November 2008 while Bradshaw broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

"(Jacobs) played powerful, he broke some tackles, (and) he established really a sound foundation for us as far as rushing the ball," said head coach Tom Coughlin.

"The last touchdown run of his was very good," he added. "They had at least nine guys down and we got an outstanding block at the point of attack with the safety penetrating from (fullback) Bear Pascoe and then Brandon made one guy miss and then I think someone hit his legs and he still stayed up."

Bradshaw, whose 97 yards also included scores of four and 10 yards, seemed almost in disbelief when told that he had passed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his young NFL career.

"To have 1,000 yards in the NFL is a big dream," he said.

Bradshaw, who had been disappointed with the decision to remove him as the starter after he posted one fumble too many, has been slowly coming to terms with the coaches' decision. He said he now realizes and appreciates the value of the 1-2 punch the Giants' coaches have designed with Jacobs starting ahead of him.

"With our styles, it goes both ways and they kind of complement each other," he said. "(Jacobs) did a great job (Sunday) to open it up, and when I got in there, I just ran it in hard."


  • Giants CB Terrell Thomas, who recorded his team-leading fifth interception against Washington, revealed that every time his mother, Teressa Knox, attends a game, he comes up with a big play.

    Well, almost every time.

    "Last week (against Jacksonville) she wasn't there," Thomas said after the Giants defeated Washington 31-7. "But she's been there for three of my games this year and I've had an interception in each."

    He then smiled and added, "She's out here every week from now on."

    Thomas, who at the start of the season said he aspired to become the Giants' No. 1 cornerback, capped his day against Washington with five tackles (all solo), one quarterback hit, one pass breakup, and a forced fumble.

  • DT Barry Cofield had a rather embarrassing moment during Sunday's game in which he ran out late for a field-goal attempt.

    Cofield explained that he was only recently added to the field-goal unit and that he is still getting used to having to be on standby.

    "I was over there on the sidelines talking defense with a couple of my fellow d-linemen," he said. "Once you hear someone screaming your name and you realize that you've done something wrong, you just try to get on the field as fast as possible."

    Cofield was in such a hurry to get out onto the field that he didn't realize that he was still wearing his ski cap until it was too late.

    He said, "I'm just glad that I made that mistake in a game that we were in control of, and not in a game that would have cost us."

    Moving forward, Cofield promised to be ready, saying, "Obviously that's something I'm not going to let happen again."

  • LT Shawn Andrews, who has been sidelined with back pain, has improved, according to coach Tom Coughlin, but that there is no change in his status. "He's feeling a little better," the coach said. Barring a dramatic improvement, Andrews will probably not be cleared practice this week.

  • LT David Diehl, who was limited in practice last week, will continue to be brought along. Coughlin said that Diehl, who is recovering from a hip/hamstring issue, would be given a little more to do and that they will assess if he's ready to return to action when the Giants meet Minnesota on Sunday. If Diehl is ready to go, presumably he would go back to his left tackle spot, sending Will Beatty back to the bench.

  • C Shaun O'Hara (foot) still might not be returning to practice this week. Presumably, when O'Hara, who has done some agility work on the side to test his healing foot, is cleared to return, he will start out as limited while working his way back toward being able to handle a full practice load.

  • WR Hakeem Nicks, who is recovering from a procedure on his lower right leg to alleviate symptoms related to compartment syndrome, is hoping to resume working this week. Last week, Nicks said that his goal was to begin running this Wednesday and be back to practicing on Thursday. Coach Tom Coughlin said he was unsure if Nicks has had the stitches from his procedure removed, but added that he didn't think the stitches would be an issue for Nicks as far as him meeting his goal to begin running on Wednesday was concerned.

  • WR Steve Smith (pectoral) will do a little more work this week in practice, according to coach Tom Coughlin. Smith said he hoped to be back on the field for the Giants' Dec. 12 game against Minnesota. Coughlin said that they would see how Smith feels following his gradually increased work load.

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