Manning focused on vanquishing Vikings curse

Eli Manning hasn't had a good career against the Vikings, but he's focused on changing that Sunday. His career numbers vs. Minnesota leave a lot to be desired.

Quarterback Eli Manning, who will be making his 100th consecutive career start on Sunday against Minnesota, said he has been very fortunate to be able to endure the physical challenges that come with playing the game.

"That's good stuff," Manning said of his streak, which while paling in comparison to Vikings quarterback Brett Favre's streak of 298 (if Favre starts on Sunday), makes Manning the sixth quarterback in NFL history to start 100 straight games. "It's easy to get hurt in this game, and I think part of it is a little luck and how you take care of your body on some things, and trying to avoid the big hits."

However, there is another number that Manning is looking at that's related to this week's game, and that is the big goose egg that's attached to his name when it comes to the number of games he's won against the Vikings.

Manning's career numbers against Minnesota have been forgettable for sure. He has appeared in five games, four as a starter. He has completed 72 of 139 passes (51.8 percent) for 824 yards with only two touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has also been sacked nine times for a loss of 75 yards and has registered a passer rating of 47.8 in games played against Minnesota.

Although the Vikings' defense has changed over the years — most notably safety Darren Sharper, who has four of the nine interceptions that Manning posted against Minnesota — that doesn't mean that the Giants' leader on offense is breathing any easier as he gets ready to face the Vikings for the sixth time in his career.

"Their front four is about as good as there is in the NFL," Manning said when asked what makes the Vikings still so dangerous. "They're able to stop the run, able to get a good pass rush without bringing too many blitzes."

Despite the dangers that the Vikings' defense poses, Manning believes that the Giants have a good plan to get that defensive front four under control, one that will give the offense a chance to avoid long-yardage situations that can be particularly deadly for an opponent given the noise levels for which the Mall of America Field is known.

"It's going to be loud, and they are going to be jumping the cadence," Manning said of the Vikings' defensive front four. "Guys have to be ready to block because you can't do stuff in third and long all day."

NOTES

  • C Shaun O'Hara (foot) continues to work his way back to full-time duty in practice. Head coach Tom Coughlin said that O'Hara, who was again limited in practice this week, came through his Wednesday workout with no setbacks.

  • WR Hakeem Nicks, who is recovering from a fasciotomy that he had a couple weeks ago on his lower leg, said that he had half of the stitches removed from the wound and that he was able to practice with no setbacks. Nicks remains optimistic that he'll be able to play this Sunday against Minnesota, although a decision as to whether he'll actually be cleared probably won't be made until Saturday.

  • RB Ahmad Bradshaw (wrist) returned to practice and took his full load of snaps. Bradshaw said that his wrist ailment, which he sustained after falling to the turf, wasn't anything that would keep him from playing and said that the decision to sit out on Wednesday was more of a result of the wrist and his ankle bothering him. Bradshaw downplayed any concerns about whether his wrist might create ball security issues.

    Nah, it's cool," he said. "Just protect the ball."

  • The Giants' offensive line, which has gone five straight games without allowing a quarterback sack, has earned qualification for the second annual "Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award, presented by Prilosec OTC." The award honors the NFL's best offensive line and will be presented during the week of Super Bowl XLV, which will be played on Feb. 6, 2011 in Dallas.

  • OT Shawn Andrews (back) remains unable to practice. Andrews has been working on the side with a trainer pushing wheeled weights. Andrews, who spoke to reporters for the first time since having to be hospitalized for back pain, said that he's trimmed about 15 pounds off his frame and is down to about 313, a decision he made to help alleviate the stress placed on his back. He is also sporting a back brace to help him navigate more freely and said that he continues to do exercises to strengthen his core.


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