Running Back Blues

The Vikings aren't the only team that has seen the depth of its running game tested. The Giants might be forced to start their third-string halfback Sunday due to injuries that have been a problem at the RB position all season long.

Most of the water-cooler chatter among Vikings fans has been about the injury to Adrian Peterson and the difference not having him makes on the Vikings offense. But the Vikings don't have much on the Giants, who might come into Sunday's game with their third option at running back.

The Giants came into their first "post-Tiki" season hoping to make up for the production that Tiki Barber used to give them with a trio of running backs, led by bruising power runner Brandon Jacobs. There were some concerns as to whether Jacobs could carry the full load at running back. Those fears were confirmed Week 1, when Jacobs got dinged up for the first time. While he has been very effective when he plays, keeping him on the field has proved to be a problem. Jacobs has been battling a hamstring injury for the last couple of months, but the backup plan was working just fine.

When Jacobs went down, Derrick Ward stepped in and gave the Giants offense a spark. More of a darter than the bullish Jacobs, Ward made an immediate splash, but he has been slowed with injuries too. Jacobs returned last week in the Giants road win over the Lions, but re-aggravated the injury and is a big question mark heading into Sunday. With Ward still banged up, the Giants may have to move to No. 3 running back option Reuben Droughns. While Droughns has had two seasons in which he piled up 1,200 rushing yards or more, he is viewed as a between-the-tackles plow horse who won't threaten you with the shot at taking a run up the middle to the house. He's more of a three-, four- and five-yard grinder.

With concerns that the Giants might be without both Jacobs and Ward Sunday, the team made a roster move Tuesday, signing former Patriot Patrick Pass to a contract.

While Vikings fans have seen quarterbacks moving in and out of the starting lineup every week or two and injuries at one point to both Peterson and Taylor, the Giants are finding themselves dropping to their third option at running back, which could force their offense into passing more. But, considering the success other teams have had throwing the ball against the Vikings, that may not be such a bad thing after all.

* The key to the Vikings winning this season? Score more than 20 points. The Vikings are 4-0 when scoring more than 20 points and 0-6 when scoring 20 or less.
* After being a healthy scratch against the Vikings last Sunday, Raiders running back Lamont Jordan has asked for his release.
* The Jaguars announced Tuesday that they had released former Vikings quarterback Todd Bouman. With injured starter David Garrard back, it was deemed the roster spot Bouman was filling could be better used elsewhere.
* The signing of Patrick Pass was made possible for the Giants by placing starting strongside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka on injured reserve.
* Todd Steussie, the former Vikings first-round draft pick who received an injury settlement when released by the Rams in early September, is expected to be re-signed by the Rams this week.

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