A Vikings Win over Giants Would Be Historic. Here’s Why.

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Men like Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, Dalvin Tomlinson, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, etc., get their first mouthful of playoff football on Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings host the New York Giants in the NFC’s Wildcard Round.

But that’s not the only first-of-its-kind aspect of the Vikings tryst with the Giants. If Minnesota escapes with a victory — they’re three-point favorites — it would mark the first playoff win by a Vikings head coach in his first season with the club.

No Vikings head coach has won a playoff game in his first season with the franchise — not Bud Grant, Dennis Green, Mike Zimmer, or anybody.

A Vikings Win over Giants Would Be Historic. Here’s Why.

Jerry Burns won his first playoff game, in general, with the Vikings on January 9th, 1988, but he was in his second year as skipper. The rest either didn’t reach the postseason in Year No. 1 or were named Dennis Green and lost to the Washington Commanders in 1992.

A Vikings Win over Giants
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And while the Giants are oodles of pundits’ fashionable choice to upset the Vikings, Kevin O’Connell’s team really shouldn’t lose. The Giants finished the 2022 campaign with a 3-6-1 record in the final 10 games, the Vikings have homefield advantage, and while Daniel Jones is blossoming into an effective QB1, he’s not a total gamebreaker like Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen.

Too, Minnesota won 13 games in the regular season, and a first-round exit at home would be a wee bit embarrassing. In that vein, it feels like O’Connell winning a playoff game in his first season as Vikings skipper is expected. We shall see.

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An O’Connell win would arrive on the backdrop of several Vikings “firsts” in 2022. Minnesota’s 13-4 record is the best by a first-year Vikings coach in team history. The Vikings fired up an incredible 11-0 record in one-score games — the best record of its kind in NFL history and, by leaps and bounds, the best in team history. And Justin Jefferson led the NFL in receiving yards, a feat never achieved by a Vikings wideout until 2022.

On the Giants side of operations, well, they’re hungry and overachieving. Brian Daboll, too, is a first-year head coach, and the Giants “aren’t supposed to be here” just yet. New York’s roster isn’t quite playoff caliber on paper, but paper doesn’t play football games. Daboll and Co. stockpiled wins in the first part of the season before the faceplant down the stretch.

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New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll answers questions before practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023 in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings defeated the Giants three weeks ago after squandering a lead and regaining it for good, thanks to a Greg Joseph field goal. Joseph connected from 61 yards away to walk off the Giants in Week 16, a kick that set the Vikings record for longest in franchise history.

O’Connell can rack up another “the Vikings have never ____” accolade at home against the team that blew away the franchise in the 2000 NFC Championship — the last time the two clubs met in the postseason.

The Vikings are 18-12 (.600) all-time against the Giants.

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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).