Two weeks ago, in the wake of a 34-0 drubbing at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings appeared destined for their second head-coaching change in as many seasons. After the team's 41-17 evisceration of the New York Giants, however, things look decidedly different.
The Vikings achieved their victory over the Giants, a seven-point favorite at the Meadowlands on Sunday, despite being outgained on offense by the Giants 309 to 251 yards.
On the day, the Vikings' offense outscored the Giants' offense 20-17. But the tale of the game was the play of the two quarterbacks. While Giants' quarterback Eli Manning looked as hopelessly lost as any quarterback has ever looked in the NFL, throwing four picks, three of which were returned for touchdowns, Tarvaris Jackson looked decidedly better than his counterpart.
Though Jackson finished the day a meager 10 of 12 for 129 yards passing--60 of which came on the second play of the game--he did show an ability finally to hit the deep pass. And, though he again held the ball too long in the pocket with Giants' defenders honing in on him, he also finally made use of his scrambling abilities, picking up large chunks of yardage on two separate plays to pick up first downs when the game was still in the balance.
The result of the quarterbacking play in Sunday's game was that, while Jackson did not cost the Vikings the game, doing what he ought to have done in most circumstances, Manning did the opposite, ensuring his team no chance of victory in spite of playing against the 32nd-ranked pass defense in the NFL.
Sunday's game might have marked nothing more than another baby step in Jackson's progression as an NFL quarterback, but it certainly is preferable to going in reverse. And with his team having unquestionably the softest remaining schedule in the NFL, it might suffice to propel the Vikings into the playoffs in 2007.
Up Next: Improved Defense or Awful Giants' Offense?