The Giants didn’t practice yesterday since they won’t play until Monday night, but it didn’t stop them from preparing for the Vikings with great urgency.
Despite being given the day off, the players were still at the facilities and studying for an opponent they rarely see.
“[Desperation] is probably the word that you can use. We look at each game as the most important game of the year, whether we’re in this situation or not,” said Coughlin. “It certainly is a very important game for us because we’re trying like heck to put ourselves in a position where we get some reinforcement for our team, our players, our fans, all of the above.”
Minnesota is also desperate for a spark. They’re in the midst of their third quarterback, as they announced Josh Freeman will get the nod.
“We’re going to give him more this week to see how he handles it. He’s done a good job in the meetings and what we’ve asked him to do on the practice field,” Frazier said of Freeman. “We anticipate a hungry team, looking for their first win of the season. [But] we are hungry to get our second win of the season. It’s two teams that are desperately fighting to get a win.”
Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who knows a lot about struggling quarterback play this season, said he thinks it’ll be “very tough” for Freeman getting the start for a team that he’s only been employed by for less than two weeks.
“There are just a number of things. There are some good things that we’re doing [but] we’re just not playing a full, complete game. We’re not playing four quarters of quality football. We may get two or three in and then our [fourth-quarter] mistakes are hurting us,” Manning said. “We’ve just got to get more consistent and just take care of business. “We’ve always been a very strong fourth quarter team [where] we have been down a little bit in the fourth quarter and were able to score in those two-minute drives to win. We just haven’t had that this year. ... I wish I knew the exact reason of why that occurs. A different game has a different reason, so we’ve got to find a way just to either build a lead into the fourth quarter or get those close games.”
Coughlin said he’s “never” once given any thought toward benching Manning.
Manning currently leads the NFL in interceptions with 15 (and also has two fumbles lost) but for his coach, the team’s best shot at winning will only come at the hands of his current quarterback.
“It’s a tremendous help having him [in the huddle],” Coughlin said. “We’ve given him tremendous responsibility from day one [and] he’s always come through. He’s a two-time MVP of the Super Bowl, a great football player. And to be able to build on that over the years has been an extremely positive thing for our franchise. There isn’t any doubt that over the years the back-and-forth communication between the staff and Eli has really been a very critical factor in the success that we’ve had.”
Big Blue notes ...
» The Giants waived/injured running back Da’Rel Scott after just one game back on the roster following his initial Oct. 1 release. Scott had four carries for 17 yards and a four-yard reception against the Bears, but pulled his hamstring at the end of a 13-yard run on the Giant’s final possession and was helped off the field.
» The vacancy on their roster was filled by running back Peyton Hillis. The former 1,000-yard rusher has played for Denver, Cleveland and Kansas City. He was also in training camp this summer with Tampa Bay. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Hillis has played in 65 games with 33 starts. His career totals include 597 rushing attempts for 2,470 yards (4.1 yard average) and 21 touchdowns. Hillis’ longest run was a 48-yarder. He has also caught 111 passes for 867 yards (7.8 yard average) and three touchdowns. Hillis has also returned 10 kickoffs and thrown three passes, completing one for 13 yards.
The Giants added Hillis because their backfield situation is unsettled. Starter David Wilson has a neck injury and a timetable for his return has not been determined. Primary backup Brandon Jacobs suffered a hamstring injury and didn’t practice on Monday, though Coughlin said he expects Jacobs to be on the field for Thursday’s session. Besides Hillis, the only healthy back is rookie seventh-round draft choice Michael Cox.
» The Giants also added running back Jeremy Wright to their practice squad. The 5-foot-10, 199-pounder from Louisville was with the Giants for three weeks in May. He also played in two preseason games during a 10-day stint with the Steelers in August.
» The practice squad contract of linebacker Darin Drakeford was terminated. His Big Blue stint lasted just one week.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.