The New York Giants may have given Minnesota Vikings fans something to prove ahead of the two team’s NFC wild-card matchup on Sunday.
After a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles to close the regular season, the third-seeded Giants (9-7-1) wasted no time pushing their agenda that they are out for revenge after their regular-season loss to the Vikings on Christmas Eve.
Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates said if his team had played a clean game, the 27-24 loss “would have been a different story.” Minnesota blocked a punt and forced an interception in the fourth quarter to mount a fourth-quarter comeback capped by Greg Joseph‘s franchise-record 61-yard field goal.
Gates also ribbed the Vikings fan base, saying he was disappointed with the atmosphere at U.S. Bank Stadium despite their fourth-quarter crumble.
“Surprised. Actually, I thought it would be a lot louder,” Gates told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. “I thought especially when our offense is out there they would be a lot louder out there. But you know, they’re Midwest people. They’re too nice. I can say it because I went to Nebraska. I went to Nebraska. I include myself in that one.”
The Vikings (13-4), seeded third in the NFC, will host New York again on Sunday, January 15, at 3:30 p.m. CT, meaning Gates may have just given Vikings fans some bulletin board material ahead of the matchup.
Giants RB Saquon Barley Excited for Vikings Rematch
Giants star running back Saquon Barkley was also reminiscent of the first game against the Vikings, recounting that he expected to see Minnesota again.
“Actually, I talked to some of the guys after the game against Minnesota and said, ‘We’ll see you guys again,'” Barkley said, per ESPN. “It was a great matchup [in Minnesota]. It was a great game.
“Obviously they came out with the win. But we’re excited because this is the stuff you dream about as a kid in the National Football League. Not many people on this team had an opportunity to play in the playoffs. It has been a tough couple years here and we finally have our shot. We feel we have a balanced team that complements each other really well. It’s a one-week season now.”
Vikings CB Patrick Peterson: ‘The Real Season Starts Now’
With every loss this season, the Vikings have avoided getting into a rut by winning the following game.
That remained true after an embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 17. Minnesota emerged with a 29-13 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
However, the win didn’t hold much merit with many of both teams’ starters resting and reserve players rotated in. Veteran Patrick Peterson wasn’t satisfied with the victory or the notion that his team has been able to bounce back from hard losses this season.
“Coach always talks about, ‘Anytime we end up losing the game, we find a way to bounce back stronger.’ But heading into next week, we can’t have those. We can’t lose any games because it’s win or go home,” Peterson said in a January 8 press conference. “It’s time to go out and play some complimentary football. We have to understand everything matters. Every snap matters. Every second of the clock matters, and we have to be dialed in for 60 minutes.
“I have all the confidence in the world. We feel like we are a very dangerous football team,” Peterson added. We just have to understand we have to start faster and not have that slow start in the playoffs because, although we have a bunch of comebacks in the season, the margin of error in the playoffs is so small.”