Who Wants it Less?: Vikes/Giants Monday Night Mess
The nation has barely had a chance to catch its collective breath after last night’s thrilling Colts/Broncos tilt and already football fans are faced with another amazing match-up tonight between two amazingly bad teams. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the Minnesota Vikings/New York Giants tilt is going to be anything resembling good football, but it does give ESPN yet another wonderful opportunity to showcase a couple of teams going absolutely nowhere. There’s no shortage of marquee names on both sides waiting to implode at any moment. Here’s a quick rundown.
When the Vikings Have the Ball
Vikings Offense. It goes without saying that Minnesota is going to feed all-everything running back Adrian Peterson the ball early and often, which makes a lot of sense because the Giants can’t stop the pass. If AP fails to find daylight (always tough during night games) look for new starting quarterback Josh Freeman to be running for his life and wishing that he had a waited another couple of weeks so that he could have signed with the Bears or Rams or Texans. In the event that Minnesota’s offensive line remembers how to pass block (an unlikely scenario) Freeman will be looking to wide receiver Greg Jennings, a guy who enjoys trashing MVP quarterbacks. Failing that, it’s passes aplenty to tight end Kyle Rudolph, a guy who looks like he should be out driving a hay baler. As for first round rookie wide out Cordarrelle Patterson, he and his big-play potential have been on display this year about as often as the highlight reels for Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster.
Giants Defense. The Giants no-name linebacking corps should present some real recognition problems for Adrian Peterson, as in, “Who the hell is that guy? I don’t recognize him.” In the unlikely event that Minnesota attempts to pass the ball, New York’s beleaguered front four should at long last get some sacks. This is mostly due to the fact that tackle Phil Loadholt has problems standing upright. New York’s defensive backfield will try to disguise coverages the same way they’ve disguised the fact that none of these guys can really cover anyone. If nothing else this game should finally answer the question, “What happens when a team that can’t pass plays a team that can’t defend the pass.
When the Giants Have the Ball
First off, look for Hakeem Nicks to complain. Then look for Hakeem Nicks to drop a ball that hits him right in the hands, shake his head and complain some more. Eli Manning versus Minnesota’s pass coverage is a case of an irresistible force (Eli’s Jedi-like focus on throwing interceptions) against an immovable object (Minnesota’s leadfooted defensive backs). Should be fun. Turning to the run, the Giants will be without Brandon Jacobs, which means ball-carrying duties will be shared by Peyton Hillis (who signed only five days ago) and rookie Michael Cox (who just missed being “Mr. Irrelevant” in this year’s draft by one spot). No word yet on whether Larry Csonka will suit up for Big Blue.
The question is, will Minnesota DBs have any earthly idea what to do when a passed ball hits them between the numbers? They usually are in the habit of chasing after receivers who have already blown by them for considerable gains. The purple pass rush may not want to get too aggressive. Keeping Eli upright may be Minnesota’s best chance at winning. With the Giants limited at running back, Vikes linebacker Chad Greenway may just get bored and start tackling his defensive teammates.
There you have it, ladies and gents. It’s anybody’s ballgame tonight. It may just come down to who wants it less. Enjoy, America!