Once again, WR Randy Moss started the game and was pulled after the first play from scrimmage, a 4-yard run by Mewelde Moore.
Moss returned for three plays on the Vikings' fourth drive, starting with a key third down where he drew double coverage and took it deep while WR Nate Burleson dragged underneath for a 6-yard conversion. However, two plays later, QB Daunte Culpepper threw an interception.
He returned on the fourth play of the next drive and Culpepper went deep for him in the end zone. That sideline pass led Moss out of bounds.
Moss saw action on 10 plays, but was never a serious factor. Although he looked improved over last weekend, he was still limited and left the field in street clothes in the third quarter without a reception.
How could the Vikings get so far behind in the first quarter? Besides a fumble that gave the Giants the ball at the 22-yard line, the offense couldn't do much running ball. Between Culpepper, Mewelde Moore and Michael Bennett, the Vikings averaged only 2.7 yards on seven rushes in the opening period.
The reason the deficit wasn't worse than 10-0 was because of three first-quarter sacks that netted the Giants out at only 1 passing yard in the period.
The Vikings will have a decision to make next week when it comes to personnel when Onterrio Smith returns from his four-game suspension. First, the Vikings will have to decide whom to release to get their roster to 53 players. Then, they will have to decide whom to deactivate. One player called out publicly by Mike Tice this week was Mike Nattiel. He didn't help his cause with a holding penalty during the opening kick return. Neither did Larry Ned with a second-half penalty on another kickoff return.
FIRST-HALF FIELD-POSITION BURN
While the offense has to take the brunt of the blame game with a fumble on the opening drive, an interception three drives later and five drives that went three-and-out in the first half, the punting game didn't help either.
The defense forced the Giants off the field in three plays on three first-half drives, but punter Darren Bennett couldn't help the Vikings get the edge in field position. He averaged 40.5 yards on four punts in the first half, but still gave away nearly 6 yards per punt to New York punter Jeff Feagles, who averaged 46.3 yards on three punts.
While the teams were nearly dead even in first-half total net yards (135 for New York, 136 for Minnesota), there were other stats that were decidedly weighted in favor of the Giants in the first half.
* They had 12 first downs to the Vikings' four.
* The Vikings had two turnovers to the Giants' none.
* And Culpepper had a passer rating of 39.4 to Kurt Warner's 76.7.
It has been a theme far too long for Minnesota Vikings fans. But the issue was raised again Sunday when FOX commentator Jimmy Johnson chimed in. When talking about Mike Tice's contract, Johnson added that Tice and Culpepper would be happier in Los Angeles because that market doesn't want an expansion team and they would embrace the Vikings.
Unfortunately, Vikings fans are going to be hearing about the Los Angeles market until (or if) the Minnesota politicians get a stadium bill passed.
The inactive chart for the Giants may have looked good for the Vikings entering the game in a few respects, but the key member to look for wasn't there. Wide receiver Amani Toomer was active after a mid-week injury had him questionable.
Toomer was on the field from the start of the game and finished with 31 yards on three catches.
On the first series of the second half, defensive end Kenechi Udeze left the game with a left ankle sprain. His return was announced as questionable.
LB Raonall Smith received a concussion in the third quarter, and his status was announced as questionable for a return.
In the fourth quarter, RB Mewelde Moore was lost for the rest of the game with a sprained left ankle.
CB Brian Williams suffered a mild concussion in the fourth quarter and was out for the game.
Inactive for the Vikings were Shaun Hill (emergency QB); WR Ryan Hoag, LB Chris Claiborne, C Cory Withrow, T Adam Haayer, TE Richard Owens, DT Spencer Johnson, DE Darrion Scott.
The Giants deactivated Jesse Palmer (emergency QB), RB Ron Dayne, S Curry Burns, RB Derrick Ward, LB T.J. Hollowell, OL Shaun O'Hara, OL Marques Sullivan, DT Kenerick Allen.
Game 7: Highlights, Lowlights And Notes
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