So what should we make of the Minnesota Vikings? Are they the team that went an astounding 11-0 in one-possession games during the regular season, including rallying from a 33-0 deficit against the Indianapolis Colts and from 17 points down on the road against the Buffalo Bills. Or, are they the team that couldn’t get out of its way Sunday in losing 31-24 at home to the New York Giants, of all people, in the wild card round? It’s the latter because when they needed a comeback the most, the Vikings couldn’t pull it off. Constantly falling behind in a game isn’t a recipe for success in the NFL.
While the Vikings won the NFC North this season, they won’t go into the 2023 season as the division favorite. The favorite will be the Detroit Lions, of all people, who went 5-1 in the NFC North this season (splitting with the Vikings) and finished the year with seven wins in nine games.
The Lions have the NFC North’s best quarterback in Jared Goff, who matched Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins’ statistics during the regular season but threw only seven interceptions to Cousins’ 14.
It’s Now 47-1
A deep dive into the statistics of the Vikings’ loss to the Giants’ makes the defeat more difficult to believe than a surface view. For example … the Vikings became the first NFL team in the Super Bowl era to complete 80% of their passes with no sacks or turnovers and lose a game, either in the regular season or playoffs. Teams that previously had that list of accomplishments were 47-0.
Then there’s Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. Not Pat Mahomes. Not Josh Allen. Not Jalen Hurts. Jones had a career game against the Vikings in leading the Giants to their first playoff victory since 2011, when they won the Super Bowl.
Jones became the first QB in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns and run for at least 70 yards in a postseason game. Two other QB’s — Lamar Jackson (2020) and Steve Young (1995) — copied the more than 300 yards passing and more than 70 yards rushing achievements, but they didn’t throw multiple TD passes.
Jones was 24-of-35 through the air for 301 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings. He also ran the ball 17 times for 78 yards. Four of his six scrambles resulted in a first down. His 379 total yards were the second-most for a Giants player in playoff history and his 78 rushing yards was a Giants playoff record for a quarterback.
A bad decision by Cousins to throw a short check-down pass to T.J. Hockenson on a 4th-and-8 play brought an end to the Vikings’ final drive, and an earlier Minnesota drive in the fourth quarter also was ruined by a bad mistake.
Vikings offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw had a false start on a 4-and-inches play deep in Giants’ territory, and Minnesota had to settle for a Greg Joseph field goal that tied the game at 24-24. The Giants scored the winning touchdown on their next possession.