Shiancoe expects ‘feisty' game against Giants

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe is coming of the best game of his career, one that was tainted by a loss, but he said he'll enjoy this week leading up to facing his ex-teammates on the New York Giants.

Coming off the best performance of his career, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe wasn't able to enjoy it fully. The Vikings had lost to the Atlanta Falcons and Shiancoe had to preface his answers to accolade-laced questions with the caveat that the loss marred his ability to enjoy it.

After catching a career-high seven passes for a career-high 136 yards and a career-high two touchdowns, Shiancoe said much of his success against the Falcons was because they were game-planning other offensive threats, including quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

"We were just going to take what they gave us, and they gave us some seams. They gave us certain plays, so we just took advantage of that," he said. "They're paying attention to (Tarvaris), they're paying attention to other people on offense. That's getting me open and Tarvaris is just making great throws."

There is a little more to it, according to Vikings coach Brad Childress.

"I think his confidence is high," Childress said of Shiancoe. "It's not just because he wants it to be high; he's really worked at his profession. He's a guy that spends a lot of time in the weight room and has spent a lot of time around here now. He understands the system forward and backward. It's not just the nuts and bolts. He's been able to expand the menu in what we are able to do with him offensively because he understands where he fits.

"You see him playing full speed and you see him playing at a high level. He's not having to think about anything. He's always had good hand-eye and he's always had good speed, and now he knows how to wiggle open and get in some of those holes and make those tight-spot catches."

That allowed Shiancoe to have the second-most receiving yards from a Vikings tight end in franchise history. He wasn't aware of that when a reporter asked him about it, but was something for which he could be proud.

"Yeah, it definitely means something to me. That's a great accomplishment, but we lost. It's not as sweet and it just doesn't feel the same. It would feel better if we would have won," he said.

This week, however, Shiancoe should have fun thinking about playing the New York Giants. The opponent knows all about Shiancoe, and he seemed poised to enjoy the week leading up to facing his old teammates.

"There is going to be a little extra in the tank for me, a little feistiness from me. But that's a good team, a very good team – Super Bowl champs. Does it get better than that?" Shiancoe said. "They're going to come in with their A game, so we have to come in with our A-plus game."

Shiancoe said he calls ex-Giants defensive end Michael Strahan before every game, but this week the tight end is sure to make a few calls to some of the current Giants.

"I'm going to jaw with a couple guys because I know they're going to call me and talk a little trash, a little (crap). It's all in the game. That's what you do, that's what friends do. I'll make a couple calls," he said.

First, however, the Vikings have some work to do. They can't afford seven fumbles, the number they committed against the Atlanta Falcons.

"We can't as an offense make those types of mistakes. We gave them a lot of points – we fumbled or turned the ball over … four times. Us as an offense, we can't win in the NFL doing that, even though we still had a chance to win. But in the NFL, that doesn't ride," Shiancoe said.

"That was a bad, bad, bad performance from our offense. None of us are happy about that. We've got to keep our heads up and look towards the Giants. We can't let that keep us down. We have to learn from that; definitely we have to learn from it."

A win against the Falcons would have secured the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs. A loss by the Bears in Monday's night game would have done the same thing. The Vikings didn't earn their win, and they were forced to see the Bears win a day later.

That means that either Vikings have to beat the Giants on Sunday or the Bears have to lose to the Houston Texans if Minnesota is to make the playoffs. It's either the No. 3 seed and at least one home playoff game or the end of the season for the Vikings.

"We hold our own destiny in our own hands, so we'll look at the Giants film and break them down to see what we can do to win that game," said defensive end Ray Edwards, who had two sacks on Sunday.

"The next game is the biggest game, and this is the biggest game of our season, the next game against the Giants," said Shiancoe.

A similar performance from the tight end on Sunday would that cause.

PURSUING MILESTONES

  • With a receiving touchdown in the season finale, Shiancoe would tie the team record for the most receiving TDs by a tight end in a single season. Shiancoe has seven in 2008, and Joe Senser's eight in 1981 tops the chart.

  • With two rushing yards, RB Adrian Peterson can become only the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 3,000 yards in his first two seasons in the league. Peterson has 2,998 yards since entering the NFL in 2007.

  • With 102 rushing yards, Peterson would move into fourth place in NFL history for the most rushing yards in a player's first two seasons. Peterson's 2,998 yards rank fifth behind Clinton Portis' 3,099.

  • With 117 receiving yards, WR Bernard Berrian can break the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. If Berrian crosses 1,000, it will be the first time since 2002 that the Vikings have had a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season.

  • QB Tarvaris Jackson's seven passing touchdowns over the past three games are tied for the second-most among all NFL QBs during that time, behind only Patriots QB Matt Cassel. Jackson's 126.5 passer rating is second to only Colts QB Peyton Manning's 128.1.


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