Upon Further Review

Stand on any football sideline and you'll hear coaches emploring defensive linemen "get your hands up!" Any time a defender can get a hand on the ball, bad things happen to offenses. The Vikings did that with regularity on Sunday and would be advised to keep the same mindset when they meet Brett Favre on Monday night.

There are times when coaches review game film that instead of trying to find ways to improve, they ask players to keep doing what they're already doing. Sunday was a perfect example of that. Defensive line coach Brian Baker is a huge proponent of never giving up on a play, even when an offensive lineman has his guy stymied. If nothing else, jump up and get the arms up in the air – something good could happen. That happened Sunday and changed the game – Upon Further Review.

Coming into last Sunday's game, the Vikings were facing a quarterback in Eli Manning who had shed the image of a nervous youngster and was drawing comparisons to big brother Peyton. By the time the game was over, the Vikings may have given other teams a blueprint of how to beat the Giants, as well as give Brett Favre something to think about Monday night. The simple fundamentals made the difference with Manning, who shares the ability of Favre to get the ball released in a hurry. But well-timed jumps, stunts and moves by the Vikings D-line made all the difference. Here are some examples.


* 10:00 remaining, 2nd-and-9 from the New York 11-yard line. The Giants have already dodged one bullet after fumbling the opening kickoff, but they're pinned deep. Kevin Williams blows through a double team and gets in Manning's face as he's winding up to throw and rejects the ball like a basketball player to bring up a third-and-long.

* 9:00, 3rd-and-14, New York 11. One play later, Manning is looking for Plaxico Burress. Darrion Scott has been neutralized at the line of scrimmage, but, as Manning throws, he jumps up and gets a hand on the ball. The pass changes direction, Burress tries to adjust, but has the pass taken away by Darren Sharper deep in Giants territory.


* 15:00 remaining, 2nd-and-6, Minnesota 11. Manning steps up from a pass rush to find a throwing a lane and sidearms a pass for Burress. He doesn't see Sharper, who has jumped the route and makes the interception, bringing it back 92 yards for a Vikings touchdown.

* 12:00 remaining, 3rd-and-2, Minnesota 17. The Giants are looking for the game-tying points. Keith Newman comes on a blitz and, as Manning prepares to pass, he jumps up. Manning pulls the ball back down, reloads and throws an incompletion that was nearly picked by Erasmus James. The Giants have to settle for a field goal and still trail 7-3.

* 8:00 remaining, 1st-and-10, New York 21. Manning tries to find a throwing lane by stepping up in the pocket, but, as he sets to release, his arm is hit by Kevin Williams. The ball flops to a stop in an empty space that likely would have been an interception had the pass not been so greatly underthrown in a zone of the field which had been vacated by crossing routes.


* 6:00 remaining, 2nd-and-11, New York 22. Kevin Williams is double-teamed as the Vikings line up for a three-man rush. He's stopped at the line but jumps and bats the ball down. After the play, Manning is clearly frustrated with his linemen. After an overthrow on third down, the Giants have to punt – a kick that is returned 71 yards for a touchdown by Mewelde Moore.

* 3:00 remaining, 1st-and-10, Minnesota 40. Manning stays in the pocket, but as he starts his throw, James hits his arm and the ball comes free. On the field, it is ruled a fumble. The play is challenged and, although an argument could be made both ways about whether the ball went forward, it is ruled an incompletion on a play the Vikings remain convinced should have stayed as called.


* 13:00 remaining, 1st-and-10, New York 28. Manning rolls to his right to buy time and get a better sight line. Kevin Williams is again stacked up at the line, but jumps and bats the ball down. While it doesn't kill the drive, once the Giants are in Vikings territory, Manning, perhaps gunshy of throwing anything on a line, air mails a pair of long passes incomplete to end the drive.

From beginning to end, the Vikings lived up to the axiom taught by Pop Warner coaches for linemen – get your hands up and, if you've been stopped, jump and try to hit the ball or force the quarterback to alter his motion. It worked to perfection against Manning and, with a low-throwing gunslinger like Favre, Upon Further Review the Vikings shouldn't change a thing this Monday.

Viking Update Top Stories