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Giants at Vikings 2016, Week 4: First look at New York-Minnesota matchup

An overview of Monday’s meeting with Minnesota

New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The New York Giants (2-1) will have their hands full Monday night when they travel to Minneapolis to face the 3-0 Minnesota Vikings. Let’s take a first look at the matchup.

The Minnesota defense is outstanding

  • The Vikings lead the league in quarterback sacks with 15. Defensive ends Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter each have four. Former Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph has three.
  • Minnesota’s defense is first in the league in yards allowed per play at 4.40.
  • Minnesota is third in the league in points allowed per game at 13.3.
  • The Vikings are first in the league is takeaway/giveaway ratio at +8. Minnesota has forced nine turnovers (five interceptions, four fumble recoveries) in three games and given the ball away just once. The Giants are -6 in this category, tied for 30th.
  • Minnesota sacked Cam Newton eight times and intercepted three of his passes Sunday in a 22-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Griffen had three of those sacks and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Eli’s Kryptonite

Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been awful against the Vikings throughout his career. In eight games against the Vikings, Manning has thrown 14 interceptions and only five touchdown passes. His career passer rating against Minnesota in only 54.8. Without the suspended Odell Beckham, Manning went 15-of-29 for 234 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in a 49-17 loss to the Vikings last season.

Manning is currently 76-of-107 for 925 yards with with four touchdowns and three interceptions. His 71 percent completion rate and 98.1 passer rating would both easily be career highs if the season ended today.

Minnesota’s offense

With Sam Bradford still settling in at quarterback and star running back Adrian Peterson lost due to a knee injury, the Vikings’ offense is nowhere close to being the juggernaut their defense has been. Minnesota ranks 21st in points per game (21.3), 31st in yards per game (265.3) and last in the league in rushing yards per game (51.0).

Bradford may not yet have mastery of the entire offense, but he has gone 40-of-59 (67.8 percent) with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a stellar 107.8 passer rating.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs leads the Vikings with 20 receptions for 325 yards (16.3 yards per catch). Tight end Kyle Rudolph has 14 catches for 166 yards (1.9 yards per catch).

The Giants may enter Monday vulnerable in the secondary. Safety Darian Thompson (foot) missed last week’s game and is considered “week-to-week.” His status against Minnesota is unknown. Cornerbacks Eli Apple (hamstring) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) both left the Washington game due to their injuries. Whether or not either will play vs. Minnesota is unknown.

Special teams

Giants’ special teams were a disaster against Washington. A kickoff out of bounds. A 50-yard punt return allowed. A blocked punt negated by a penalty. A completion allowed on a fake punt.

The Giants will be tested by the Vikings. Cordarrelle Patterson of Minnesota averages 32.6 yards per kickoff return, with a long of 61. Marcus Sherels averages 13.6 yards per punt return.

— Stay tuned throughout the week as we offer you complete coverage leading up to the game.