Former Vikings QB and NFL MVP “Convinced” the Giants Will Upset Minnesota

Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) during the first quarter against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL playoffs are about to begin, and everyone is coming out with their predictions for how things will end up in the Wild Card (ours will be out Thursday morning, so look out for them!). One such person making these predictions is former Vikings QB and NFL MVP Rich Gannon. The 18-year NFL QB broke down the Giants/Vikings matchup this weekend for The 33rd Team, and he thinks the Minnesota Vikings are on upset watch.

There are a few things that Gannon points out as to why the Giants can pull off an upset, and if you’re a Vikings fan, a couple of them will make you roll your eyes:

  • The Vikings have 13 wins but have a negative point differential
  • The Vikings have the 31st ranked defense against the pass
  • The Vikings are turnover reliant; the Giants don’t turn the ball over
  • Kirk Cousins has a career-high 14 INTs

Of course, just about everyone (except for our friend Dustin Baker, apparently) thinks this will be a close, hard-fought game. The spread is at 3 points in favor of the Vikings, which is the typical advantage given to a home team. Just three weeks ago, the Vikings beat New York by exactly three points, 27-24.

That game, as any Vikings fan will remember, was won because of a Greg Joseph franchise record 61-yard field goal. This came after New York tied the game with a 27-yard Saquon Barkley touchdown run and Daniel Jones two-point conversion pass.

Belief in Greg Joseph Has Paid Off
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) and head coach Kevin O’Connell celebrate the win after the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings theme throughout this season has been narrowly winning close games. They are 11-0 in one-possession games, and they have 3 blowout losses on their schedule, hence their negative point differential. Because of winning games by the skin of their teeth, it has led many folks, like Gannon, to believe that the Vikings are a fraudulent 13-win team.

Gannon spent his first six NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, including three from 1990-92 as the starter. In all, he appeared in 48 games for the Vikings (35 starts) and completed 55.9% of his passes for 6457 yards, 40 TDs, and 36 INTs.

Then, he went to Kansas City for a four-year stint with the Chiefs before heading out west to play for the Oakland Raiders. In Oakland, Gannon really blossomed throughout his mid-30s. During his first four years with the Raiders, the veteran QB made Pro Bowls every season, and he won the MVP award in 2002 by passing for 4689 yards, 26 TDs, and 10 INTs.

Oakland made the Super Bowl during that 2002 season, but ultimately, they lost 41-24 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gannon threw for 272 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and a whopping 5 interceptions in the loss.

In all, Gannon played 157 regular season games while starting 132 times. In all, he completed 60.2% of his passes for 28743 yards, 180 touchdowns, and 104 interceptions. His teams went a combined 76-56 during his starts.

Heading into this weekend, there will be a number of people picking the Giants to win this game for one main reason: someone is going to get upset this weekend. Among the NFC games, it may be much harder to pick against Tom Brady or a 49ers team that has won 10-straight games. Time will tell if this is the correct choice or not.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.