Even though the Vikings ended up not having to win this game, it still must have been a big boost to the team to end on a winning note. With the Bears losing to the Texans, Minnesota had the division won, but they would end up winning the game anyways on a last second Ryan Longwell field goal.
Considering they were playing against mostly Giant back-ups for the entire second half, this was not a very impressive victory at all. However, a win is a win, and if nothing else, this should help the Vikings from a psychological standpoint heading into the postseason.
Tom Coughlin went against the norm, and decided to play most of his starters, but he would bring out some of them, including Eli Manning, in the second half. This was much like last season, when the Giants played all of their starters against the Patriots, and fought them tooth and nail right to the finish, only to come up short.
Even though they suffered some key injuries, it benefited them in the playoffs, and in the Super Bowl. They did lose cornerback Sam Madison in this contest, but he isn’t that significant to their defense.
This game got off to a relatively slow start, and the Giants’ defense managed to hold the NFL’s leading rusher, Adrian Peterson, in check. That was until he broke off a 67 yard touchdown run in the second quarter, to put the Vikings ahead, 10-0. The Giants would go on to add three field goals to close off the first half down 10-9.
David Carr would open the second half as the Giants’ starting quarterback, and actually played really well against a tough Vikings D. He would lead the Giants on a 10 play, 80 yard drive to open the third quarter, culminating in a Domenik Hixon touchdown catch. After a fourth John Carney field goal, the Vikings would respond with another big play, as Bernard Berrian would go 54 yards to the house, on a pass from Tavaris Jackson.
Then, with just over three minutes left, John Carney would just miss a field goal wide right, which would leave the Vikings with great field position, and only needing a field goal to win. Tavaris Jackson would lead his team into field goal range, and Ryan Longwell would drill a 50 yard field goal at the gun, to win the game.
The Vikings will now host the Philadelphia Eagles in a wildcard match-up next weekend. Meanwhile, the Giants get a bye, and will await the lowest seeded team advancing out of the wildcard round. Of note, Adrian Peterson recorded his 10th 100 yard rushing game of the season, and won the regular season rushing crown, after finishing second to Ladanian Tomlinson last season.
Also, Derrick Ward topped the 1,000 yards rushing mark, joining his teammate Brandon Jacobs, who also broke that number of yards. They are the fourth teammates to both go over 1,000 yards in a single season.