Grading the Game: Giants

The Vikings' 41-17 win against the Giants was a big victory and it was an all-around team effort with good grades coming out of each facet of the game.

PASSING OFFENSE: B — Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson helped get this facet of the offense a better-than-average grade by throwing a 60-yard touchdown pass to rookie Sidney Rice on the second play from scrimmage in the Vikings' 41-17 victory over the New York Giants. Jackson wasn't asked to do a lot of passing after that, but he completed 10 of 12 passes for 129 yards with no interceptions. His 139.2 rating was easily his best of the season and the first time in seven starts Jackson's rating has been over 100. He completed passes to six receivers, with Rice catching a team-leading three balls for 82 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus — With Adrian Peterson missing a second consecutive game because of a slightly torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, Chester Taylor was again the primary running back. He had only 77 yards on a season-high 31 carries, an average of 2.5 yards per touch, but the respect the Giants were forced to pay to the Vikings run game made the play-action effective and was a key to Rice's 60-yard scoring reception. The Vikings have now rushed for more than 100 yards as a team in 10 of their 11 games.

PASS DEFENSE: B — The Vikings made life extremely tough on Giants QB Eli Manning, setting a team record by returning three interceptions for touchdowns. S Dwight Smith had two picks, taking one back 93 yards for a score. Fellow S Darren Sharper and LB Chad Greenway also had touchdowns. Despite the fact the Vikings were playing without veteran CB Antoine Winfield (hamstring), the NFL's worst-ranked passing defense managed to give up a respectable 273 yards. Rookie CB Marcus McCauley was starting in place of Winfield for the third time in four games; that would have seemed to make McCauley and second-year CB Cedric Griffin prime targets. But the Vikings showed Manning a variety of looks and often sent linebackers on blitzes that confused him.

RUSH DEFENSE: B — The Vikings continued to be one of the NFL's best units in this area, giving up 75 yards on 19 attempts. Minnesota has surrendered more than 100 yards on the ground in a game only twice this season. The Giants' longest run went for only 11 yards. Pro Bowl NT Pat Williams continued to play excellent football, tying MLB E.J. Henderson for the team lead with six tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — The Vikings were solid in this area, holding the Giants to an average of 22 yards on eight kickoff returns and 6 yards on two punt returns. Ryan Longwell hit field-goal attempts from 46 and 26 yards, and Chris Kluwe averaged 40.6 gross yards and 34.2 net yards on five punts. He put one inside the 20-yard line and had a touchback. Troy Williamson returned two kicks for an average of 22.5 yards before suffering a head injury. Charles Gordon replaced him and had a 21-yard kick return.

COACHING: B — The Vikings again struck early with a big pass play and got a jump on their opponent. A week earlier it had been a trick pass play with Rice hitting TE Visanthe Shiancoe for a 79-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage to set up a touchdown. This time on the second play from scrimmage, Jackson connected with Rice for a score. The coaching staff deserves credit for a game plan that is making opponents pay for committing to stopping the Vikings running game. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier also had an excellent strategy, using a variety of blitzes and different looks to force Manning into a terrible day that included four interceptions. It's become clear that this defense is at its best when it's applying pressure.



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