Vikings Playoff Run Comes to an Abrupt End

The Minnesota Vikings hosted their first playoff game since the Minneapolis Miracle, but this day would end in no miracle. Instead, it was a steady dose of 10–15-yard gains by the New York Giants offense that slowly crushed the Vikings hopes of a playoff run. All in all, Minnesota’s season ends with a 31-24 defeat handed to them by New York, and the Vikings playoff run comes to an abrupt end.

Things got off to a strong start as Cousins went 7/7 on the opening TD drive with five of those completions coming by way of Justin Jefferson. Then, we saw what the Vikings defense looked like.

On the first two Giants drives, they ran 9 total plays for 167 yards and a pair of touchdowns. By way of averaging 18.5 yards per play, New York quickly nullified the Vikings early lead and took a 14-7 lead of their own. Minnesota wouldn’t lead for the rest of the game.

Vikings Playoff Run Comes to an Abrupt End
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (left) hugs running back Alexander Mattison (2) after losing a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Excluding the drives at the very end of each half, the Giants scored on five of their seven possessions and totaled 431. Daniel Jones, in particular, was terrific during the game. He completed 24-of-35 passes for 301 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also added 78 rushing yards to a Giants rushing total of 142 yards.

Even still, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense continued to keep Minnesota in the game. After one of the very few defensive stops in the game, the Vikings had the ball with a chance to either tie or win the game, down 31-24.

The drive got off to a decent start after a pair of first downs, one by way of roughing the passer and another 13-yard pass from Cousins to Hockenson. However, after all the work Cousins did to get rid of his monicker as a “checkdown artist”, the final play of this game for the Vikings will be the one that everyone remembers.

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Giants defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) reacts after winning a wild card game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

After completing 30-of-38 passes for 270 yards, a pair of passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown, Cousins undid all his work with one play. On 4th-and-8, with the season on the line, he threw a 3-yard checkdown pass to Hockenson one more time, and just like that, the game and the season were over.

In all, this was a very fun season for the Vikings. Winning 13 games for just the third time in franchise history and capturing an NFC North title is respectable. However, once again, this franchise comes short of the ultimate goal: that elusive Super Bowl.

Surely, this will be a huge offseason with many moves, particularly regarding some of the veterans on this team. It will be interesting to see how the franchise reloads for the 2023 season.

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.