Granted, it was just one game. But you have to admit it was one pretty impressive game. The Vikings went to New York this past weekend to face the Giants, a 7-3 football team apparently destined for the playoffs. The Vikings were 6.5-point underdogs going into the game, yet they won by 24.
It would seem that nobody except the Vikings gave them any chance of winning the game. Most fans, even loyal fans, did not have very high expectations. And if you could find an expert who claims they predicted the Vikings would win this game, no matter how, they have yet to step forward.
So how come all the “analysis” of the game centered on how badly the Giants played, but gave no credit whatsoever to the Vikings?
The Giants were all banged up. They were without their top two running backs – Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward. Wide receiver Plaxico Burress was playing on an injured ankle and could hardly run pass routes at full speed.
But the Vikings were playing without their very best player overall with running back Adrian Peterson not suiting up. And on defense, their top defensive back, Antoine Winfield, also sat out for the third time this season. Yet most of the talk was about how banged up the Giants were?
Giants quarterback Eli Manning was also awful. And yes, anytime you throw four interceptions in a game, it wasn’t a good day by the quarterback. But at some point you have to give some credit to the Vikings coaching staff for their game plan and for the players’ ability to execute.
The Giants came out strong and moved the ball down the field for a score on their first possession. But the Vikings’ defensive staff obviously made the right adjustments and quickly turned the tide on the Giants.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier had Manning and the entire receiving corps guessing all afternoon. He was mixing and matching pressure with linebackers blitzing and defensive linemen dropping into coverage all day long, and neither Manning or his receivers ever got a grasp on it.
The Vikings had four interceptions. But they could have had six or maybe even seven. Cedric Griffin and Ben Leber each dropped very catchable interception opportunities. Kevin Williams had another chance at a pick but couldn’t make the play on this one. The rest were pretty well earned, quite frankly.
Darren Sharper made a timely read and break on his pick. Ditto for the pick by linebacker Chad Greenway. The first Dwight Smith interception came from pressure, the second because of Leber tipping the ball at the line of scrimmage. Had Leber not tipped the ball it very likely would have been a touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey.
Indeed, it was just one game, but the Vikings made too many big plays in this game not to deserve at least some credit. Off day or not, the Giants are no pushovers on their home field.