The third-seeded Minnesota Vikings and the sixth-seeded New York Giants are set to face off on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium once again after defeating them three weeks ago 27-24 on a 61-yard field goal by Greg Joseph as time expired.
That was also the last game Minnesota has played at home. This time of course the stakes are much higher since it is the playoffs.
With the win in their last meeting, Minnesota now leads the all-time series 18-12. One of those wins came during the 1997 season during the wild card round in New York. It was one of the most exciting finishes in team history.
Minnesota won 23-22 after trailing 22-13 with 1:30 remaining in the game. They also trailed 19-3 at halftime. Chris Walsh recovered the onside kick and Eddie Murray nailed a 24-yard field goal to win it.
Randall Cunnigham went 15/36 for 203 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Jake Reed caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Cris Carter caught six passes for 83 yards. On defense, Robert Griffith recorded a game-high 11 tackles.
For New York, Danny Kanell went 16/32 for 199 yards and a touchdown. David Patten caught five passes for 86 yards. Chris Calloway caught six passes for 53 yards. On defense, Jason Sehorn recorded a team-high eight tackles.
(11) 1997 Vikings at Giants NFC Wild Card Playoff – YouTube
This was the first playoff win for Dennis Green as the Vikings head coach. There was speculation that he could have very well been fired had they not won the game. They lost the very next week on the road to the San Francisco 49ers 38-22. Green stayed on as the head coach for four more years.
What if the Vikings lost and fired Green? Who would have been his replacement? Would Randy Moss had been drafted by them in the upcoming draft? Besides the fact that Moss made the team more exciting to watch from 1998-2004, he played a major role in increasing attendance at the games.
In 1996 and 1997, the Vikings struggled to sell out home games despite being playoff teams in both seasons. Had that trend continued, how much longer would they have stayed in Minnesota? Maybe it would not have been for much longer.
After 20 teams passed on Moss in the draft, Green decided to take a chance on the controversial but very talented wide receiver. Maybe Green’s replacement would not have been willing to do the same.
That win over the Giants was very huge for this franchise. Not only did they win their first playoff game since 1988, but the future of the franchise very possibly was saved too. The game does not get the kind of recognition it deserves even after all these years.
Prediction for Vikings-Giants
Can Minnesota once again defeat the Giants in the playoffs and beat them for the second time this season? They have a great shot at doing so. Could go either way, but it should be another close game once again.
The defense, which has been a disappointment this season needs to step up. The defense did sack Daniel Jones three times in the last meeting, but they also allowed Saquon Barkley to rush for 84 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Stopping him will be key. It would not be a shock if the Giants have him run around 25 times or more.
Beating a team twice in one season is not usually easy, but once again, the Vikings have very good chance.
Prediction: Vikings win 31-24.