Vikings Did ‘Their 3 Things’ en Route to Win over NYG

The Minnesota Vikings followed a familiar 2022 blueprint to topple the New York Giants on Christmas Eve, surviving Brian Daboll and Co. 27-24 after a mammoth game-winning field goal from Greg Joseph. The Vikings kicker connected from 61 yards, sending the Giants to 8-6-1 on the season while Minnesota climbed to a fancy 12-3 mark.

Minnesota still owns the No. 2 seed in the NFC, hoping to defeat the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears in Weeks 17 and 18 to stave off the hot San Francisco 49ers for playoff seeding.

Here’s how the Vikings orchestrated the mini-Christmas miracle over New York.

Vikings Did ‘Their 3 Things’ en Route to Win over NYG

1. Scored 17 4th Quarter Points

to win over nyg
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings score about 10 points per 4th Quarter, leading the NFL — by far — through 15 games. Minnesota scores 9.9 points per game in the 4th Quarter, while the scrappy Detroit Lions rank second with 8.6. Relatively speaking, the divide between first and second place is vast.

Seventeen purple points flooded onto the scoreboard in the 4th Quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on Christmas Eve, and every single one was needed. On offense, with virtually no garbage time, the Vikings are the league’s top 4th Quarter team, and it showed on Saturday.

Of course, much of this “4th Quarter gangbusters” mentality is derived from the team stinking up the joint in 3rd Quarters, but Vikings fans will take what they can get.

Kirk Cousins, particularly, has been marvelous in the 4th Quarter, and he tabulated two passing touchdowns against New York — one to T.J. Hockenson and the other to Justin Jefferson.

2. Won the Turnover Battle by 2

Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) forces a fumble against New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Rookie Brian Asamoah ripped a ball away from rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger, and Patrick Peterson jumped a route for an interception. Josh Metellus, too, fired up a blocked punt, but those aren’t technically considered turnovers.

Write this down: the Vikings defense is decent when it forces turnovers. When it does not force turnovers, Minnesota’s defense is lousy. It’s an odd situation, but it is the truth.

Well, on Saturday, Ed Donatell’s people forced turnovers, and Kevin O’Connell’s offense did not sponsor any giveaways. Based on the way the team is constructed, winning the turnover differential is damn near required. They did just that in Week 16 — and won accordingly.

3. Only 2 Penalties

For the Vikings, 'Ugly' Works Just Fine
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings currently rank sixth in fewest penalties, behind only the Texans, Ravens, Chargers, Rams, and Falcons. And because Minnesota’s margin of victory is crazy small — in like every win — limiting penalties is vital.

Just two penalties for 14 yards plagued the Vikings afternoon, an incredibly small figure. On the other hand, the Giants accounted for seven penalties (63 yards). The Vikings are well-coached and hence minimize penalties, and it paid off wonderfully versus New York.

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).