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Giants At Vikings: When The Vikings Have The Ball

(Sports Network) – Regardless of whether Brett Favre (2446 passing yards, 10 TD, 18 INT) drags his ailing and aging body out for another go-around or if it’s Jackson (223 passing yards, 3 TD, 3 INT) calling the shots, expect the Vikings to give New York a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson (1123 rushing yards, 33 receptions, 12 total TD) come Sunday. The NFC’s leading rusher abused Buffalo for 107 yards and three touchdowns on only 16 carries last week despite dealing with a sprained ankle, and with rookie understudy Toby Gerhart (216 rushing yards, 16 receptions) hobbled by a gimpy hamstring, expect Peterson to see an increase from his Week 13 workload.

Percy Harvin’s (51 receptions, 5 total TD) possible absence may be offset by the return to form from Sydney Rice (9 receptions, 2 TD), a 1,300-yard receiver in 2009 who compiled 105 yards and two scores on five catches in just his third game back from offseason hip surgery. He’s the lone healthy standout of an otherwise pedestrian allotment of passing-game targets, though tight end and ex-Giant Visanthe Shiancoe (35 receptions, 2 TD) is a solid safety valve underneath. Like its opponent this week, Minnesota has been plagued by miscues throughout the season, owning a troubling minus-11 turnover ratio that’s tied for worst in the NFL. The quarterbacks have been the primary culprits for that poor margin, with Favre and Jackson having combined for 21 interceptions.

Though the Giants stand seventh in the league in run defense (98.0 ypg), they were gashed for 207 rushing yards in a narrow win over Jacksonville two weeks back, so it’s imperative that players such as linebackers Michael Boley (67 tackles, 1 sack) and Jonathan Goff (53 tackles, 0.5 sacks) and tackle Barry Cofield (43 tackles, 3 sacks) win their battles and tackle well to prevent the dangerous Peterson from going wild on Sunday. New York’s goal will be to put the Vikings into obvious throwing situations in order to unleash a slew of strong pass rushers that have teamed up for 36 sacks, tied for the third-most in the NFL. Ends Osi Umenyiora (38 tackles, 9 sacks) and Justin Tuck (59 tackles, 8.5 sacks) are tremendous disrupters who have forced an eye-opening 14 fumbles between them, while 2010 first-round pick Jason Pierre-Paul (22 tackles, 4 sacks) has racked up a pair of two-sack efforts over the past couple of weeks.

The Giants’ knack for creating pressure is a big reason why they’ve surrendered the second-least passing yards this season (192.8 ypg), though the steady play of cornerbacks Terrell Thomas (70 tackles, 5 INT, 17 PD) and Corey Webster (42 tackles, 3 INT, 8 PD) has helped as well.