Updated: October 05, 2019 09:13 PM
The Minnesota Vikings (2-2, 4th in the NFC North) travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey to take on the New York Giants (2-2, T-2nd in the NFC EAST) this weekend.
Kickoff is slated for noon Sunday. Here are the three keys the Vikings will have to note in order to come out victorious.
1. Throw the book at Giants quarterback Daniel Jones
The Giants started the season 0-2 with veteran Eli Manning at quarterback and quickly switched gears to No. 6 overall pick in the first round, Daniel Jones. Jones has led New York to wins in his first two games as an NFL starter.
"Good pocket presence, strong arm, mobile," Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards said about Jones. "He’s able to step up and move in the pocket. He’s able to throw on the run when he does scramble outside the pocket, and he’s got the ability to run it down the field. He shows a lot of good characteristics for what Pat (Shurmur) likes in his offense, and we’ve got to do a good job with discipline in our rush lanes and being on top of our routes. All those things working hand-in-hand."
With Jones' limited experience, fans can expect head coach Mike Zimmer to give the rookie a lot of exotic looks at the line of scrimmage and in the secondary and force the rookie signal-caller to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage.
Jones will be without one of his top weapons, running back Saquon Barkley, who's out with a high-ankle sprain. But the Giants do get wide receiver Golden Tate back from a four-game suspension.
2. Take chances downfield
The Vikings' offense has quickly gone from a team seeking balance to a team that is all too reliable on the run.
Last week, Chicago took the run game out and the Vikings had no answer through the air. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is off to a lousy start and needs to start taking some chances down the field, and more importantly, hitting them.
"He knows at times when you need to be smart with the ball. He knows when it’s time to be aggressive with the ball," Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski said about Cousins. "That may change within a series, it may change within a game dependent. We talk about in a two-minute drive where you don’t have to be aggressive until the time is up against it. I trust that he knows how that goes and I think when you go back to last week, which you don’t love to do at this point, but when you go back to last week, I think he learns from those reps."
Cousins has only completed 11 passes of 20-plus yards this season and only two 40-plus yard passes.
3. Get tight ends involved in the offense
When the Vikings drafted Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of April's draft, it was assumed he'd play a big role in the offense, but that has not been the case so far this season.
Two weeks ago, he caught three passes for 60 yards in a win against Oakland, but last week hauled in just one reception against Chicago.
Likewise, Kyle Rudolph has been quiet in the passing game. On the season, Rudolph has only five catches for 32 yards and has only been targeted seven times.
Vikings tight ends could have some play making chances on Sunday against the Giants. New York allowed the Dallas Cowboys' tight ends to haul in six passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns in week one and two weeks ago, Tampa Bay's O.J. Howard had three catches for 66 yards against the Giants defense.
Updated: October 05, 2019 09:13 PM
Published: October 05, 2019 12:00 AM
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