The Giants have several players on the injury report and starting running Brandon Jacobs won't play, but New York is looking to go out fighting against the Vikings even if the Giants are eliminated from the playoffs.
A year ago, the Vikings played the New York Giants
in the final game of the regular season and, thanks to the Giants already having the NFC East wrapped up, they pulled many of their starters late in the third quarter. The Vikings ended up winning the game 20-19 at time expired on a Ryan Longwell
field goal to win the NFC North title.
A year later, the Vikings again find themselves playing the Giants in Week 17 with a lot at stake. This time around, the Giants again have nothing to technically play for – they have been eliminated from playoff contention, while the Vikings still have the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs at stake.
"While I know they are disappointed they are not in the playoffs this year, I don't have any illusions about them wanting to get that bad taste out of their mouth and finishing their season with a good taste in their mouth," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "The best way to do that, as professional football players know, is to get a win at the end of the week. I don't think any of us have any illusions about how they will show up and how they will fight."
But the Giants will be without one of their top stars. The team announced Wednesday that running back Brandon Jacobs
will have arthroscopic knee surgery later this week and won't be playing Sunday. Jacobs, a big, bruising running back with a violent style, has been the centerpiece of the Giants rushing attack for the last several years. With him out, the running load is expected to fall on backup Ahmad Bradshaw
, but he missed practice Wednesday due to injuries to both ankles and his right foot.
While the Vikings expect to the Giants to come at them with everything they have Sunday, there is some speculation that the team won't risk players who are banged up because there isn't any reason to risk potential further injury. With any luck on Minnesota's side, they will have the same result as a year ago – a Vikings win when they need it most.
But the Giants won't go away without a fight.
"You approach it the same way you are going to coach it anyway. We are trying to do everything that we possibly can to put our best foot forward," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We don't like the way we played last weekend. We need to have the kind of effort to have some pride in the way we play and so we are doing everything within our power in regard to coaching and getting our players excited to play against a very good football team. Coming up there, being at our best is all we can do.
Single-game tickets for the Vikings first round playoff game – whether in the wild card round Jan. 9-10 or the divisional round Jan. 16-17 – are on sale. Ticket prices range from $48-195 and are available only through Ticketmaster – either at their website (www.ticketmaster.com) or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Two Vikings didn't participate in practice Wednesday – Visanthe Shiancoe (thigh) and Jimmy Kennedy (thumb). Five others had limited participation – Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), John Sullivan (knee), Pat Williams (elbow), Antoine Winfield (foot) and Eric Frampton (ankle).
Aside from Jacobs, five other Giants sat out Wednesday's practice – Bradshaw (ankles, foot), wide receiver Mario Manningham (shoulder), cornerbacks Aaron Ross (hamstring) and Corey Webster (knee), and tackle Kareem McKenzie (knee). Five others had limited participation – QB Eli Manning (foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), defensive tackles Chris Canty (knee) and Fred Robbins (leg) and guard Rich Seubert (knee).
The referees in Monday night's loss to Chicago missed a facemask penalty that occurred on the play in which Adrian Peterson fumbled. Had the call been made, the Vikings would have retained possession and had the ball in Bears territory. Instead, Chicago won the game on the next play.
Steelers linebacker Lamar Woodley said that the Patriots and Bengals will both "lay down" Sunday to assure that Pittsburgh doesn't make the playoffs. Perhaps a five-game losing streak did as much to keep the Steelers from defending their championship than anything else.
Two injured Bears from Monday night – cornerback Charles Tillman (ribs/lung) and defensive lineman Israel Idonije (foot) – were place on injured reserve Wednesday.
The Redskins signed former Vikings CB Marcus McCauley Wednesday, McCauley's fourth different team since being released by the Vikings during training camp.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.