PASSING OFFENSE: C — Tarvaris Jackson had his shakiest outing since taking the starting job back from Gus Frerotte three games ago. He completed 16 of 26 passes for 239 yards and had a 54-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian in the fourth quarter. However, Jackson also threw a third-quarter interception with the Vikings on the New York 6-yard line and his team trailing 16-10 at the time. The Giants got a John Carney field goal off their ensuing possession. Jackson had passer ratings of 135.5 against Arizona and 98.5 against Atlanta in his first two starts but fell to 88.5 against the Giants. Eight different receivers caught passes from Jackson in the victory, including four apiece by Bobby Wade and Berrian. Wade also had a game-high 98 yards in receptions.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C — The Vikings only get an average grade because Adrian Peterson's 67-yard touchdown run in the second quarter helped Minnesota finish with 110 yards on 27 carries as a team. Take away Peterson's long dash and the Vikings had 43 yards on 26 carries, a lowly 1.7 yards-per-carry average. Peterson also had another fumble, giving him nine on the season, but the Vikings were able to recover the ball. The Vikings' ground game, which was fifth in the NFL this season, will have to be far more consistent on Sunday when they play host to the Eagles. Peterson, who ran for 103 yards against the Giants, finished with 1,760 yards on the season. That made him the first running back in Vikings history to lead the league in rushing.
PASS DEFENSE: B-minus — Giants quarterbacks Eli Manning and David Carr combined to throw for 229 yards, completing 19 of 30 passes with one touchdown. Manning played the first half and threw for 119 yards (11 of 19), but it was Carr who threw the touchdown over the head of cornerback Antoine Winfield to Domenik Hixon in the third quarter. Carr completed eight of 11 passes for 110 yards in the second half. The Vikings did get one sack apiece against Manning and Carr with linebacker Ben Leber getting credit for one and defensive tackle Ellis Wyms and linebacker Chad Greenway splitting the other.
RUSH DEFENSE: C — The absence of Pro Bowl nose tackle Pat Williams was very apparent in this game. A week after only giving up 98 yards to Atlanta's top-ranked rushing attack despite being without Williams, the Giants had 135 yards on 30 carries Sunday. That marked only the fifth game in which the Vikings gave up more than 100 yards rushing this season, and it was the second-highest total against Minnesota this season. The Vikings surrendered 139 yards in the opening week against the Green Bay Packers. Fred Evans and Jimmy Kennedy have replaced Williams at nose tackle, but Evans seemed to wear down against the ultra-physical Giants. Williams, meanwhile, is hoping to return for the Vikings playoff game Sunday against Philadelphia.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Ryan Longwell's 50-yard field goal proved to be the difference for the Vikings. The veteran also had kicked a 48-yarder in the second quarter to open the scoring. Longwell has three game-winners this season and six since joining the Vikings in 2006. The Vikings also got an excellent effort from kick returner Maurice Hicks, who actually was inactive for a three-week stretch earlier this season after he lost that job. Hicks, signed as a free agent last offseason, averaged 36.7 yards on three returns. The downside for this unit was that the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw averaged 33.7 yards on three kickoff returns.
COACHING: C — This grade would be higher but for a couple curious decisions by Brad Childress and company. The first came near the end of the second quarter with the Vikings holding a 10-6 lead and facing a fourth-and-1 from the Giants 39. A punt could have pinned the Giants, but Childress elected to go for it and Jackson lost 4 yards to give New York the ball with 27 seconds left. The Giants drove down the field and got a John Carney field goal to pull within one. Near the end of regulation, the Vikings were driving for a game-winning field goal when Adrian Peterson lost 2 yards on a carry from the Giants 32. The Vikings then let 20 seconds run off the clock despite having a timeout left. Finally, with nine seconds the Vikings used their timeout. Why they did not at least run one play - something Childress said he wished had happened - was not clear. The Vikings also thought of trying a field goal with nine seconds left, but put their offense back on the field after the Giants called a timeout. Jackson threw an incomplete pass and then Longwell kicked his field goal. What was odd was that they lined up for a field goal at all with nine seconds left because by then pulling Longwell they essentially "iced" their own kicker.
Grading the game: Giants
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