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In a contest that the Vikings seemed to control from the very beginning, we look at three plays that not only displayed this team’s dominance against the Giants, but also their resilience and will to win this game big.
With the Vikings ahead by a mere six points late in the second quarter of Sunday’s game, running back Dalvin Cook took a handoff right and scampered through the New York defense on his way to the goal line.
Then this happened:
The usually sure-handed Cook had the ball chopped from him, and some confidence was given to a talented rookie quarterback and New York offense.
Got Your Six, Kid
On the very next play, with the Giants’ having to take the ball at their own one-yard line, the Vikings bailed their workhorse tailback out with a blitz timed so perfectly, it looked like a bit of a cartoon.
From the A Gap Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr walked up and then jetted through the New York offensive line at the first down snap. A millisecond behind him, safety Harrison Smith shot past the Giants’ right end. They met in the New York backfield and end zone, hammering RB Jon Hilliman to the turf for a layup safety.
Making the score then 15-7, the Giants punted. From their own 37, Minnesota drove into Giants’ territory again and converted a 32-yard Dan Bailey field goal, making it 18-7 at half.
After Cook’s fumble, the Vikings salvaged five points instead of seven, but burned the half down and showed their game-breaking young running back that they had his back.
It would be simple enough here to show one of the several highlights that Vikings’ wide receiver Adam Thielen deserves for his performance on Sunday. He was remarkable. But considering that his teammate Stefon Diggs was a big target for the New York defense in this game after being a big target for the NFL press all week, let’s instead take a look at one play made by number 14 made that sealed the deal for Minnesota in the Meadowlands.
7:30 left in the fourth quarter. Vikings up 25-10, which keeps this game as a two-possession contest. On a third-and-seven, Kirk Cousins finds Diggs wide open on a crossing pattern three yards from the first down marker, facing two Giants in a position to stop him short.
Diggs beats both men, spins past the flag and jets upfield for an extra 15 yards, putting the Vikings in New York territory and a short distance from making this match a three-possession game.
With just over four minutes left, Dan Bailey does that from 45 yards out, making this one 28-10 and prime time for Vikings’ fans to tip a beer.
Handshakes All Around
In a game that can be examined from several positive angles this week, these two plays by the Vikings, on both defense and on offense, show that this team is at least back on the track they had built before the disastrous Chicago game. In addition, the offensive balance they displayed may have been augmented by the political tumult that occurred after it.
Most importantly, it clearly indicates that this Viking team can play well on the road, beat teams that they’re better than, and concentrate with some confidence on next week’s crucial matchup at home with the Philadelphia Eagles.