NFL Nation: 2013 Week 7 MIN at NYG Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: New York Giants

October, 21, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts from the New York Giants' 23-7 "Monday Night Football" victory over the Minnesota Vikings:

What it means: That the Giants aren't going to go 0-16. I know, I know. That sounds simplistic, but it's true. The result of Monday night's game doesn't mean that all of their problems are solved or that they can still make the playoffs. They aren't, and they can't. This just means that, no matter how bad things have been or how bad they'll be again for the rest of this season, the Giants are not going to go through the whole year without winning a game. You may have believed that prior to Monday, but you'd seen nothing to prove it, and now you can be certain. It's something. It matters.

Stock Watch: Defense, UP. Jon Beason is a difference-making presence at middle linebacker, and his high-energy performance since ascending to the starting role is a huge part of the reason the Giants aren't winless anymore. He has sideline-to-sideline speed. He has a nose for the ball, even when league MVP Adrian Peterson is carrying it and needs to be brought down. He got the helmet with the speaker in it so he could make the calls, and the defense looked as good as it's looked all year. The Giants even got a quarterback sack -- something they'd done only eight times in their previous 11 games coming in. Problems and issues remain, but the Giants' defense looked inspired against an overmatched opponent Monday, and that can help build confidence.

Run for the Hillis: Michael Cox was listed as the "starting" running back, but Peyton Hillis was in on the first snap and for some reason receiver Jerrel Jernigan was in on a good number of third-down plays. Hillis looked irretrievably slow in the first half, but he got his legs under him in the second, especially as a receiver, and helped the Giants move the ball. They like to run ugly, and he may be the perfect stopgap solution while their better running back options heal.

Clean Eli: This was the first game this year in which Giants quarterback Eli Manning did not throw an interception.

What's next: The Giants will play the Eagles in a 1 p.m. ET game Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Eagles beat the Giants 36-21 at MetLife Stadium in Week 5. The Giants' bye week follows Sunday's game.

Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Vikings

October, 21, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 23-7 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night.

What it means: At 1-5, with a double-digit loss to a winless team behind them and two consecutive games against division leaders in front of them, the Vikings' 2013 season is all but lost. The team's decision to shoehorn Josh Freeman into the starting quarterback role, after two weeks with the team, backfired badly on Monday night, with Freeman connecting on fewer than 50 percent of his passes, and Minnesota's only touchdown came from a Marcus Sherels punt return. The Vikings have spent enough time fiddling with their quarterback situation now that they might as well spend the rest of the year evaluating Freeman, or possibly giving Christian Ponder one last look. Any chance of a second straight playoff berth appears to be dead.

Stock watch: Falling -- Freeman. It will take the quarterback time to feel comfortable in the Vikings' offense, so it probably wasn't fair to expect great results Monday night. But the optimism that comes from being the fresh face on a team with quarterback problems is gone for Freeman, and he'll have to match up with Aaron Rodgers next week, assuming he's the starting quarterback again. The Vikings will likely get better games from him -- they certainly couldn't get much worse than they did on Monday -- but his honeymoon period with Vikings fans likely won't last past this game.

Another disappointing night for Peterson: A week after carrying just 10 times in the Vikings' 35-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Adrian Peterson was completely stifled against the Giants. He carried just 13 times for 28 yards, getting outrushed by Peyton Hillis -- who only signed with the Giants last week -- and posting the fifth-fewest yards of his career. Peterson was more of a factor in the passing game, nearly turning a 22-yard pass into a bigger gain, but he's now run for just 90 combined yards in his last two games.

Rocky night for special teams: The Vikings did get a touchdown when Sherels took a punt back 86 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, giving Minnesota an early 7-3 lead. But Sherels later fumbled a punt -- a play after dropping what might have been an interception return for a touchdown -- and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd fumbled a short kickoff. Kicker Blair Walsh, who was playing with a strained left hamstring, also missed from more than 50 yards for the first time in his career. He had been a NFL-record 12-for-12 from more than 50 yards to start his career.

What's next: The Vikings (1-5) have another prime-time matchup looming; they face the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at Mall of America Field.


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