The Minnesota Vikings knocked off the New York Giants in Week 16 courtesy of a walkoff, franchise-record-setting field by Greg Joseph from 61 yards out. Unbeknownst to most, that transaction all but ensured that the Vikings would host those same Giants three weeks later — in the playoffs.
But the first time the teams met in 2022, a Giants offensive lineman was unfazed by Minnesota’s home crowd. The Vikings promoted a “white-out” effect for the event, instructing all fans to wear white for a neat endeavor that would aesthetically please the masses. Well, the white-out was executed brilliantly, but according to Giants center Nick Gates, Minnesota’s home crowd was meh and unintimidating from a loudness perspective.
Giants Give Vikings Strange Bulletin Board Material
When asked about the Vikings crowd noise, Gates told ESPN last weekend, “Surprised. Actually, I thought it would be a lot louder. I thought especially when our offense is out there they would be a lot louder out there. But you know, they’re Midwest people.“
“They’re too nice. I can say it because I went to Nebraska. I went to Nebraska. I include myself in that one,” Gates concluded.
The Vikings home crowd isn’t known for quietness, although some games are louder than others. Every now and then, a home game for the Vikings will be uncharacteristically quieter than usual, but that generally involves the Vikings struggling out of the gate — which is, you know, how it goes for virtually every NFL team.
Gates is likely to encounter a script-flip this weekend, though. The Vikings have hosted just one playoff game in the building’s history, a memorable showdown versus the New Orleans Saints in January 2018. Indeed, fans may have been subdued — for unknown reasons — in Week 16, but the playoffs are a different animal. And that applies to coaches, players, media, and fans. It’s win or go home, and Vikings fans won’t be “too nice.”
The Vikings offensive lineman also recognized the Giants relative playoff inexperience to ESPN but remained excited about the Wildcard matchup, “Not many people on this team had an opportunity to play in the playoffs. It has been a tough couple years here and we finally have our shot. We feel we have a balanced team that complements each other really well. It’s a one-week season now.”
Per advanced metrics, the Vikings and Giants are considered the two worst clubs in the postseason. Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric ranks Minnesota as the NFL’s sixth-worst team by the numbers, while New York checks in at 21st via the same stat. Kevin O’Connell’s club has won a bonanza of close games in 2022 — to the tune of an 11-0 record in games decided by eight or fewer points — and the Giants are no stranger to close games either. New York tied with four other teams for most games determined by one score (13) in 2022.
The Vikings have won 11 one-score games this season. The Giants won eight such games. Therefore, the Vikings may need a raucous crowd — the one Gates claims doesn’t really exist — to propel the team to victory.
How’s that for fans’ bulletin board material?
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).