EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings reversed two
negative trends Sunday despite having their worst offensive day of
The Vikings became the first team in NFL history to return a
punt, kickoff and interception for touchdowns, then their offense
came to life long enough to set up kicker Paul Edinger's 48-yard
field goal with 10 seconds left in a 24-21 win over the New York
Minnesota (4-5) entered the game having lost nine of its last 13
games to the Giants (6-3), including four of its last five. The
Vikings were also 0-4 on the road this season.
"I'm glad the guys figured out that we can win the game on
defense and on special teams," said coach Mike Tice. "Maybe we
can figure out ... and start winning on the road, because that's
what it takes in this league to win on the road -- you have to play
really well on defense and really well on special teams."
Safety Darren Sharper had three interceptions for the Vikings,
including one he returned for a 92-yard touchdown in the second
quarter. On special teams, Koren Robinson returned the second-half
kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and teammate Mewelde Moore ran a
punt back 71 yards for a score later in the quarter.
The Vikings also confused Giants quarterback Eli Manning all
afternoon with shifting coverages, and the second-year quarterback
finished 23-of-48 for 291 yards and four interceptions.
"We had a plan where we were going to bait him into calling
certain things and then move," said Tice. "When we did that, we
had to be where we were supposed to be when the ball was snapped.
And we've had a problem with that this year. But we didn't seem to
have too many problems with that today."
Manning drove the Giants deep into Vikings' territory in the
second quarter when he threw for Plaxico Burress near the goal
line. Sharper stepped in front, grabbed the pass and took off down
the right sideline, chased by Manning, who appeared to have a bead
on him before Sharper cut back across the field.
"He had an angle and I saw him with his head down, running, and
I thought, 'He's not even looking at me,' so I went ahead and cut
back," Sharper said.
Minnesota appeared to have the game in hand when Sharper
intercepted Manning for a third time with 3:48 left and the Vikings
leading 21-13. But the Giants got the ball back and drove 67 yards,
tying the game with 1:21 left on a 3-yard touchdown run and 2-point
conversion run by Tiki Barber.
Brad Johnson (17-for-30 for 144 yards) then drove the Vikings 42
yards in eight plays, completing four passes in the drive to set up
Edinger, who had missed earlier from 40 and 32 yards.
"Koren Robinson came up to me and said, 'Special teams, let's
go,' which was kind of the right words for this game," said
Edinger. "You want to be perfect, and I wasn't today, but I came
through when it counted and our offense pulled through at the end
and put us in position to get a win."
The Vikings had their worst offensive performance of the season
with 137 total yards, and were held to 6 yards in the first half.
But the Giants couldn't capitalize despite racking up 405 yards of
offense. In addition to Manning's four interceptions, Willie Ponder
fumbled the opening kickoff, and the Giants were penalized nine
times for 75 yards.
"It was a very poor performance by our team," said Giants
coach Tom Coughlin. "We fumbled the opening kickoff, had a punt
returned against us for a touchdown, a kickoff returned, an
interception when we were knocking on the goal line. It's beyond
belief that we would play that poorly."
Sharper now has five interceptions this season. ...
Manning's 23-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer in the third
quarter gave him 10 straight games with a TD pass, the longest
active streak in the league ... The Giants' defense still has not
allowed a touchdown since early in the third quarter against Denver
on Oct. 23, a span of 208 minutes, 26 seconds, or nearly 14
quarters ... Tice said he suffered a sprained or torn MCL when he
got knocked over on the sideline during the game. "Fourteen years
in the league and I never hurt my knee," he said with a chuckle.
"I guess I was turning and yelling at somebody." ... Vikings
owner Zygi Wilf, who made his fortune in real estate in New Jersey
before buying the team, was given the game ball by the team.
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