Bleacher Report Says ‘Nope’ for Vikings on Sunday

The Minnesota Vikings are fashionable upset suspects this weekend in the NFC’s Wildcard Round. Minnesota is matched up against the New York Giants, a team that lost to the Vikings under three weeks ago by just three points.

And Bleacher Report is one of the entities choosing the Giants to pull off the mini-upset, releasing an article to start Wildcard Week detailing picks for each game.

For the Vikings, that’s an early playoff exit.

Bleacher Report Says ‘Nope’ for Vikings on Sunday

The Vikings and Giants are considered the two “worst” teams in the 2022 playoffs, as Minnesota ranks 27th via DVOA while New York sits as No. 21 in the same metric. The two clubs also have an affinity for close games, so by the numbers, Sunday’s showdown should be a squeaker.

Bleacher Report Says
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (97) tackles Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Per Vegas points spreads, Vikings-Giants was the only game where Bleacher Report predicted an upset. Minnesota is favored by three to defeat New York, but BR‘s Maurice Moton just doesn’t see it that way, picking the Giants to win 28-24.

“Can we trust quarterback Kirk Cousins in a big game with question marks at two positions across his offensive line? Minnesota placed right tackle Brian O’Neil and interior offensive lineman Austin Schlottmann on injured reserve. Center Garrett Bradbury (back) hasn’t played since Week 13,” Moton explained.

Vikings, Giants Share Naughty 2022 Stat
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. © Danielle Parhizkaran/, North Jersey Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Moton also doubted the Vikings capability to establish the run versus the Giants poor rush defense, “Because of issues in the trenches, running back Dalvin Cook may not be effective against the New York Giants’ 28th-ranked run defense. The Vikings may have to rely heavily on their defense, which doesn’t bode well for them with the league’s 31st-ranked scoring unit.”

Minnesota hasn’t run the ball well in 2022, instead pivoting to a full-blown passing era under new head coach Kevin O’Connell. In fact, the Vikings rank 30th in rush play percentage, meaning they run the ball the third least in the NFL. And when they do run, they average 4.1 yards per carry, the seventh-worst in the league.

Viking Fined for a Wee Bit of Twerking
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

There’s also the obscure and awkward “rule” about picking road teams in the postseason. Every year in the Wildcard Round, a handful of away teams prevail, and if it’s not the Giants over the Vikings — then who?

  • Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
  • Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
  • New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
  • Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Which away teams from those six matchups will win? That’s the task before pundits, as home teams rarely sweep the Wildcard Round. As a result, various analysts peg Minnesota as an upset victim.

Moton concluded, “Running back Saquon Barkley can run wild on a run defense that’s allowed an average of 138.7 yards over the last six weeks. Big Blue avenges its Week 16 loss to the Vikings in an upset.”

The Vikings and Giants last played in the postseason 22 years ago when New York blasted Daunte Culpepper and Co. in the NFC Championship. The last time the Vikings won a home game in the Wildcard Round was 1999 against the Cowboys.

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).