Vikings-Giants matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Dec. 09, 2010 @ 7:55 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Here is another key matchup in Sunday's Vikings-Giants matchup:

Giants' defensive ends vs. Vikings' offensive tackles

OLT Bryant McKinnie has had a surprisingly solid season coming off a mysteriously bad year in 2009. He has the power to steer rushers away from danger, and he can clean out holes in the run game. ORT Phil Loadholt has his moments, but sometimes he locks on to defenders for holding calls and can be beaten across his face with quick countermoves. But if he gets out and makes contact in the run game, he can be a force.

The Giants have three, really four, quality ends. Osi Umenyiora moves around less than he used to, but he can fly by tackles with an occasional burst and has series where he's simply dominant, even if his motor runs a little hot and cold at times. Justin Tuck is a one-on-one mismatch who can drop, rush, stack against the run and fight through the occasional double-team. He will get out of his gap and freelance once in a while, but he's playing at a high level. Add in rookie Jason Pierre-Paul, who is on a flourish with four sacks in two games. He has exploded recently, making the most of his snaps with his superior athleticism in a pass-rush role. Dave Tollefson is a fine fourth end.

Whichever group can dominate will have a key to victory. The Giants love to attack quarterbacks and will sic their "D" on Brett Favre if he's healthy, and they feed off turnovers, mostly created by DL pressure. They attack from all angles and love to press the issue. The Vikings can dominate games when they run and play-action-pass effectively, and that starts with quality blocking on the edge, especially in the zone running game with Adrian Peterson.