The offense was dreadful in Josh Freeman’s first start at quarterback, mustering only 206 of yards on offense. Freeman looked unfamiliar with the offense and his wide receivers, which is expected when he’s only had about two weeks to learn the team’s offensive scheme. Adrian Peterson was forced into insignificance for the second straight week as the Vikings were forced to pass and play from behind for the most of the second half.
Although the defense was left out to dry by the offense’s inefficiency, this much-maligned unit was unable to force Giants quarterback Eli Manning to throw an interception in a game for the first time this season. The pass defense improved as the game wore on, but key third-down conversions by the Manning and the Giants kept several drives alive. Josh Robinson was continually picked on and the team clearly missed Harrison Smith on the back end.
Special teams gave the Vikings hope in the first quarter when Marcus Sherels returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown to give Minnesota a 7-3 lead. After this impressive return by Sherels, the unit fell apart. He fumbled a punt deep inside the Vikings’ territory that led to a one-yard touchdown run by Peyton Hillis that put New York up 17-7 in the third quarter.
The special teams’ trouble continued early in the fourth when defensive tackle Shariff Floyd fumbled a return on a short kick that gave the Giants the ball in Vikings’ territory. Blair Walsh missed his first field goal of over 50 yards early in the game while dealing with an injury to his non-kicking leg.
Monday’s game was an embarrassment for the Vikings’ organization and fans. Most thought it couldn’t get any worse than last week’s 35-10 beatdown against the Carolina Panthers, but the Vikings outdid themselves in this one. It was nearly impossible to find any positives from this game, and it’s clear that this team will continue to be one of the worst in the NFL as the season progresses.