At the moment, the Minnesota Vikings are being hailed as possibly the best defense in the league. When the season began, they didn’t have many believers at the national level despite being the defending division champions – winning the title at Lambeau Field in Week 17.
The conventional wisdom was that, while the Vikings’ 2015 NFC North title was a nice story, let’s see how that defense would fare in Weeks 2 and 3 when it faced Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton.
The argument made some sense. Rodgers had been a long-time Vikings killer and Newton made almost everyone look bad. They were the two reigning NFL MVPs – Newton winning it last year and Rodgers taking home the honor in 2014.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Vikings would follow those two up with two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning, who will add U.S. Bank Stadium to his long list of stadiums he has played in during his career. However, there is a significant difference between Manning’s history with the Vikings as opposed to guys like Rodgers. Whereas Rodgers has an impressive history against Minnesota, Manning has seen some of the worst games of his career when the Vikings are on the other sideline.
In seven career starts, he has completed just 132 of 244 passes (54.1 percent) for 1,445 yards with just five touchdowns and 14 interceptions. More importantly, he has a record of 2-5 and, in his only appearance against the Vikings in the Mike Zimmer Administration, he was crushed in prime time in a Week 16 flex game at TCF Bank Stadium – another stadium addition to Manning’s resume.
U.S. Bank Stadium will join TCF, Met Life Stadium, Giants Stadium and the Metrodome as venues in which he will play when meeting the Vikings.
The first four venues haven’t been all that kind to Manning.
Here’s the tale of the tape:
2005 – Manning completed 23 of 48 passes for 291 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions in a 24-21 loss.
2007 – Manning completed 21 of 49 passes for 273 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions in a 41-17 loss.
2008 – Manning completed 11 of 19 passes for 119 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 20-19 loss.
2009 – Manning completed 17 of 23 passes for 141 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in a 44-7 loss.
2010 – Manning completed 22 of 37 passes for 187 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in a 21-3 win.
2013 – Manning completed 23 of 39 passes for 200 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in a 23-7 win.
2015 – Manning completed 15 of 29 passes for 234 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in a 49-17 loss.
For the past two weeks, the Vikings defense has gone up against two of the most difficult quarterbacks to contain in the NFL. Monday night they’re going up against a pure pocket passer who tends to curl up like an armadillo when pass rushers close in.
He’s a very dangerous quarterback, but, if the Vikings can rush him like they have Rodgers and Newton the last two games, it could be a long night for Manning at The Bank.
- Former Viking John Sullivan signed with the Washington Redskins Tuesday. Redskins starting center Kory Lichtensteiger was placed on injured reserve, creating an opening. Prior to his release, Washington was one of the teams the Vikings tried trading Sullivan to. Washington will face the Vikings Nov. 13.
- The Giants are going to have an interesting situation at running back this week. The team was without Rashad Jennings last week and he remains a question mark for this week. Meanwhile, receiving back Shane Vereen was placed on injured reserve, which could means the RB Orleans Darkwa could see a much bigger role in the offense Monday.
- The Vikings opened the Las Vegas betting line as a four-point favorite over the Giants.
- If current records mean anything, the Giants are going to have a tough go of things over the next month-plus. Their next five opponents currently have a combined record of 13-2 – Minnesota (3-0), Green Bay (2-1), Baltimore (3-0), Los Angeles (2-1) and Philadelphia (3-0).
- According the ESPN stats website, the Vikings have a 92 percent chance of making the playoffs – second-highest among the five remaining undefeated teams, trailing only New England (94 percent).