Giants vs. Vikings: 3 things to watch

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson played last week against Carolina just days after his 2-year-old son was killed.
Credit: Reuters

The Giants host the Vikings on Monday night in a matchup between two teams struggling to find their way. Both squads have question marks on both sides of the ball, including uneven play at the most important position on the field: quarterback.

The Giants (0-6) will send out Eli Manning for his 141st straight game, despite his horrid play this season, while the Vikings (1-4) will parade its third starting quarterback in as many weeks, with Josh Freeman getting the nod. Neither quarterback situation has given their respective fanbase much hope, which means both running games will need to play a major factor.

Freeman will happily have Adrian Peterson behind him, while Manning will have a mix of Brandon Jacobs, newly signed veteran Peyton Hillis and rookie Michael Cox at his disposal.

Big Blue has had trouble stopping the run, allowing 740 yards, while the Vikings haven’t been much better, yielding 550 yards, despite playing one less game. And opponents have sacked Giants quarterbacks 16 times, while Vikings quarterbacks have been downed 14 times.

How well the maligned offensive lines of these two teams handle their duties will go a long way in determining a victor.

Three things to watch for …

1. King of the ‘Hill’

The Giants’ rushing attack has been bad in recent years, but this season may be their lowest point, as Big Blue has registered only 407 yards. Starter David Wilson has been ruled out with a neck injury and his situation is so dire head coach Tom Coughlin has no idea when it’ll get better.

“We just have to allow the time that’s necessary for the complete and total medical analysis and evaluation,” Coughlin said. “I don’t know when that would be. There’s been no magic number told to me. They’re going to look at it continuously.”

Jacobs is already banged up with a sore hamstring — and has been practicing sparingly this week — which is why the team signed veteran running back Peyton Hillis on Wednesday. Coughlin is “hopeful” the former 1,000-yard rusher will be able to immediately contribute against the Vikings.

“Hillis knows the offense and knows the terminology, so that helps a lot,” Coughlin said, referring to Hillis having played in a similar offense in Tampa this preseason. “He’s a bigger back. He caught the ball very well in the workout. He’s been around. He’s a veteran football player. We know he can handle the first- and second-down stuff, and hopefully he’ll not be too hard pressed to pick up the third-down stuff as well. … I think he can contribute right away. He’s a veteran player and we expect that of him. I think we can get him ready.”

2. All Day problems

The Vikings have no such uncertainty in their backfield. Despite going through a family tragedy last week and missing the first couple of practices this week, running back Adrian Peterson will definitely be in the starting lineup and look to add to his totals of 483 yards and five scores. The Giants’ front line has been run all over by far lesser rushing attacks this season, so it’ll be of the utmost importance to stymie the Vikings’ star back, make the offense one-dimensional and force newly signed quarterback Josh Freeman to beat them — despite having only a week to get acquainted with his new teammates.

3. Get to the QB

If the Giants are successful in slowing down Peterson, the onus will be on the front seven’s pass rush to get to the quarterback — something the unit has failed to do. The defensive line used to be the backbone of the defense, but this season it’s been more like the unit’s Achilles’ heel. Bookend defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul (back) and Justin Tuck (age) have been shells of themselves, while the interior defense has been unable to collapse the pocket on a consistent basis. Coughlin and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell are not known as big blitzers, so in order to get to Freeman, they’ll need to get there with their linemen.

“I see obviously we don’t have many numbers [and] we’re not getting to the quarterback,” said Coughlin. “We’ve got to do a better job in these one-on-one situations and also be alert there’s always a chipper [a running back who combines with an offensive lineman on a pass block]. Some of our pressure packages we’re not getting home with the kind of speed and timing that we need, so it’s a combination of things. But it basically comes down to saying, ‘I’ve got to beat this guy, or I have to beat this guy and a half.’ When you bring five [a blitzer], you do have a chance to get singled up and we have to win when that takes place. … They [defensive linemen] understand where the criticism is being directed.”

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Rockets fired from south Lebanon toward Israel: news…

At least two rockets were fired on Saturday from southern Lebanon toward Israel, Lebanon's national news agency said, without saying who had launched them.

National

Obama to examine police use of military hardware…

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police.

International

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.

National

SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.

Music

Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…