It's playoff time! Vikings finish 13-4 & will host the 9-7-1 Giants this Sunday at US Bank Stadium!
The Minnesota Vikings finished the season with a 29-13 victory over the Chicago Bears. I am not going to cover too much of this game since the Bears were trying to lose in order to secure the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. They started and played their 3rd and 4th string quarterbacks, while the Vikings were basically playing to just get the win and leave without any major injuries. This should go down as one of the best seasons in football history. I really don't know how rookie Head Coach, Kevin O'Connell, was able to lead a team with QB Cousins to a 13-win season. I am starting to think he is actually a magician because that should have been an impossible task. There is actually word that Tom Cruise might not be able to act in Mission Impossible 7, and the studio's backup option is indeed Kevin O'Connell. Rightfully so, if you ask me. This season has been filled with clutch Vikings moments on all sides of the ball from offense, to defense, to special teams. All of this mixed with a little bit of luck led to what will be one of the most memorable seasons for us fans. So whatever happens in the playoffs, we need to remind ourselves that no one expected this team to finish this season anywhere near where we finished. HOORAYYYY!
PLAYOFF TIME! The 13-4 Minnesota Vikings will host the 9-7-1 New York Giants this Sunday in the Wild Card round of the Playoffs. In the first matchup between these 2 teams, the Vikings won 27-24 on a game-winning, 61-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. The story of the game was actually the Vikings Defense and Special Teams. They forced 2 fumbles (recovered 1), had 1 interception, and a blocked punt. It does worry me a little bit since we had all of that go our way and still needed the long field goal to win the game. The Giants will be getting a few guys back from injury that they didn't have in the first matchup, while the Vikings have lost some key players that they won't have coming into this game. The Vikings offense is going to need to play much better and more consistently if we are going to win. The Vikings did have the the NFC North division locked up weeks ago, and since then, we have not seen anything creative on offense. I think Kevin O'Connell has been keeping a lot of the playbook in his back pocket for the last month and saving it for the playoffs. Both rookie Head Coaches (O'Connell and Daboll) have done a wonderful job for each team. Both the Giants and Vikings were able to increase their win totals from last season by 5 wins and it was both done with QBs that have been historically bad in pressure/primetime situations. I really don't know how these 2 coaches aren't the favorites for Coach of the Year, but I am sure there are behind the scenes politics that go into those awards.
I really am not sure how this game will go, but I expect it to be another close matchup like we saw in the first meeting. I am going to predict another close game coming down to the wire and the Vikings advancing with another 27-24 victory, the same score we saw in the first matchup. The Giants will do their best to contain Justin Jefferson better this game, so other weapons on the Vikings offense will need to step up. Let's go, Vikings! Keep this magical season going and beat the Giants!
FYI - The Packers lost to the Lions, finished behind the Lions in the final standings, and did not make the playoffs...if you didn't know. :)