They are now 7-4, having lost two of their last three games after a six-game winning streak, and while they are still well situated for a wild-card playoff berth, the lasting effects of this blowout might become more than just troublesome.
Quarterback Eli Manning had the worst day of his four-year NFL career, throwing four interceptions — three of which were returned for touchdowns — and while he completed 21 of 49 pass attempts for 273 yards, his passer rating was a dismal 33.8.
The trouble with losing this home game is there are now two consecutive games on the road, in Chicago and then in Philadelphia, and the once "locked in" playoff record, while still reasonably safe, cannot take two more defeats.
The Giants may get running back Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) back next week against the Bears. Their leading rusher was injured last week in Detroit (the first of three consecutive NFC North opponents), and not only was he on the game inactive list but so was his usual backup, Derrick Ward, who missed his fourth straight game.
So it was Reuben Droughns who started (and gained 46 yards on 15 carries), and the little help he was given came from rookie Ahmad Bradshaw (four carries, 29 yards). It is possible that both Jacobs and Ward (ankle, groin) will return next week.
But the guy who won't be coming back until next season, and whose absence was obviously felt, is strong-side linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, who suffered a fractured fibula last week in Detroit on the second play of the game when defensive end Osi Umenyiora rolled over on him while they were chasing running back Kevin Jones.
Reggie Torbor filled in for Kiwanuka, had four tackles and didn't do anything spectacular, and the loss of positive pass coverage (Kiwanuka moved from linebacker to end and then to tackle on occasions) also hampered the Giants' overall defensive effort.
Beating the Bears now becomes mandatory. If the Giants had a game to spare, this was it. With five games remaining, they must win at least three to insure that post-season appearance — and they need a far better performance from Manning to make that happen.
Manning's four interceptions represented his career high for a single game, and the three touchdowns they produced was a first-time event in Giants history.
"I have no excuses," Manning said. "I could say there were tipped balls and, well, that's part of the game. It's on me. We had a good game plan and we didn't perform. The Vikings did a great job, made the plays and deserved to win."