EAGAN, Minn. — The NFL's two best teams at prevailing in close games this season will face each other at noon (CT) Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Minnesota is 10-0 in one-score games, and the New York Giants are 8-2-1 in such contests.
That's 21 of the NFL's 133 games decided by one score thus far. The 133 is a record through Week 15 and only 14 games shy of the most in an NFL season.
If it's close, it's likely that neither team will blink.
Here are all the ways to catch the action, a synopsis of the series history and a key topic addressed this week by Vikings Offensive Coordinator Wes Phillips, Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell and Special Teams Coordinator Matt Daniels.
FOX (KMSP FOX 9 in the Twin Cities)
Kickoff: Noon (CT) Saturday, Dec. 24
Play-by-Play: Adam Amin
Analyst: Mark Schlereth
Sideline reporters: Kristina Pink
Fans in the blue areas on the map below from 506sports.com will be able to watch the game over the air or on their iOS mobile devices with the Vikings app or Vikings mobile site (Safari browser only).
Radio: KFAN (100.3-FM), KTLK (1130-AM) and the five-state Vikings Radio Network
Radio Pregame Show: Hosted by Mike Mussman (10 a.m.)
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline reporter: Ben Leber
New this year: People in Minnesota are able to listen to the Vikings Radio Network broadcast through the iHeartRadio app on their smart devices.
SPANISH RADIO BROADCAST
New for the 2022 season, the Vikings will air a Spanish broadcast of all games.
You can hear the Vikings on Tico Sports at WREY "El Rey" 94.9-FM and 630-AM in the Twin Cities and on Tico-Sports.com, elrey949fm.com and vikings.com. Additionally, the stream will be available as part of NFL+.
Play-by-Play: Gabriel Rios
Analyst: Isaias Nunez Zendejas
New York: SiriusXM 158 or 381 and the SXM App
Minnesota: SiriusXM 82 or 227 and the SXM App
VIKINGS MOBILE APP
Keep the Vikings nearby wherever you go with the Minnesota Vikings mobile app. A source for news and exclusive features, the app also will stream video broadcasts of games for people in the market/broadcast area of each game.
Click here for the full bevy of options that include over-the-air, cable, satellite, over-the-top and streaming methods.
NFL+ AND NFL+ PREMIUM
Start your free trial of NFL+ today to watch Vikings preseason games live or on-demand.
NFL+ and NFL+ Premium provide all the action when you are on the go. It is available in the NFL app and at NFL.com/plus.
NFL+ is available for $4.99/month or $39.99/year and offers the following:
· Live out-of-market preseason games across devices
· Live local and prime-time regular-season and postseason games on your phone or tablet
· Live game audio (home, away & national calls) for every game of the season
· NFL library programming on-demand, ad-free
NFL+ Premium is available for $9.99/month or $79.99/year and offers all of the NFL+ features and the following:
· Full-game replays across devices (ad-free)
· Condensed game replays across devices (ad-free)
· Coaches film (ad-free)
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Giants.
Minnesota is 17-12 all-time in 29 games (includes 1-2 in NFC Playoff games) against the New York Giants and has won the previous three games (49-17 at the University of Minnesota in 2015, 24-10 at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016 and 28-10 at MetLife Stadium in 2019).
The series began in 1964 when the Vikings topped the Giants 30-21 at Yankee Stadium. Fran Tarkenton threw for 244 yards and two scores in leading Minnesota to a fourth-quarter comeback. Bill Brown's 30-yard touchdown pass from Tarkenton put Minnesota up for good. The Vikings Ring of Honor fullback added 102 rushing yards.
Phillips on the route Justin Jefferson ran to score his touchdown against the Colts:
Folks ask from time to time how a receiver like Justin Jefferson can get so open.
Sometimes the answer has been scheme; other times, it's been skill.
Jefferson was offered a 1-on-1 matchup against Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore and the opportunity to run a triple move that relocated the five-time Pro Bowler.
It involved an out cut, an in cut and an out cut that enabled Jefferson to stroll into the end zone for the 8-yard score.
Phillips explained the origin of the route, which Rams receiver Cooper Kupp had executed against the Buccaneers. Kupp developed the route almost by accident at an offsite workout organized by former Rams QB Jared Goff during a COVID-19 closure.
Kupp got cut off on what was supposed to be a double move to the inside, so he popped back out and Goff saw it, delivering the football for a score. The players later explained what happened to their coaches, and Los Angeles added it to the playbook.
"Cooper never would have done that if it was a game or practice. He would have tried to force his way in there and do what his assignment it, but you were kind of just playing backyard ball," Phillips said. "So we put it in and had it in with a couple of different combinations, as far as what the innermost receiver was doing in that concept. We liked that progression.
"[Last week,] we had T.J. [Hockenson] on an in-breaking cut, where if he wins on a linebacker, we're going fast there and going to him," Phillips added. "If not, you've got a finishing throw that's kind of safe to the outside."
Donatell on Harrison Smith:
Vikings safety Harrison Smith, who has tied his career high with five interceptions and led fan voting at the NFC's strong safety spot but was snubbed for the Pro Bowl, returned to the lineup against the Colts after missing Minnesota's Week 14 game at Detroit. Smith repeatedly made his mark on the game in helping the Vikings defense minimize the damage in the first half and nearly shutout Indianapolis in the second half. Smith against the Colts and the New York Jets in Week 13 showed his acumen and instincts on multiple occasions when he fired across the line of scrimmage.
"He's an expert at dictating coverage and protection. … He has so much experience and he's so good at it. I don't know if I've been around a guy like that," Donatell said. "He's certainly in the upper percentile of guys to have ever done it. He has a feel for when the quarterback and line are coming together and the timing. It would take you four billion reps to teach a guy that, so I'd just rather, 'Hey, go do your thing.' You saw the play he made on the goal line. He hit the back in the backfield, 7-yard loss there. But that's him and us providing a platform for him and us being smart to let him know we know he can do that."
Daniels on Jalen Reagor's comfort as a punt returner:
There's been plenty of adjustments for the Vikings special teams this season, much like with the offense and defense. Such is the status when coordinators are in their first year.
Jalen Reagor was acquired by Minnesota at the end of August, so he's also had plenty to adjust to as the Vikings punt returner.
Reagor sprung free for a 25-yard return in Week 6 at Miami.
Last week, it looked like he was going to have a new long since joining the team. Reagor uncorked a 51-yard return, going from the Minnesota 25-yard line to the Indianapolis 24 early in the fourth quarter.
But officials wiped the long one off the books when they called a facemask penalty on Kris Boyd (replay showed no evidence of Boyd touching the opponent's facemask).
The good part about the play, even though it didn't count, was that it boosted comfort and confidence for Reagor and the return unit.
"That's the skill set that Reagor does possess and the ability to stretch it, stick that foot in the ground violently and get vertical," Daniels said. "That right there is what we've been looking for. We had a great conversation [Tuesday] with him saying the light was starting to come on for him with how we want to set up returns and how we're looking to set up blocks, so with that, the idea is, especially now that we've clinched the division … we want to start building momentum."