EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —The countdown to the bright lights of Monday night is shrinking.
The Vikings will put their 3-0 record on the line against the 2-1 Giants on *Monday Night Football *at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPN.
Minnesota will try to extend one streak and snap another.
The Vikings have won six consecutive regular season games, the longest mark in the league. But they have also lost seven straight on Monday Night Football, a streak that dates back to 2009.
Monday night's contest will be the first of two consecutive home games at U.S. Bank Stadium, the only back-to-back stretch at the new venue for the Vikings this season.
On the airwaves: The game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN. Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters will be on the call. The game also will be broadcast on KFAN 100.3-FM and across the Minnesota Vikings Radio Network by the team of Paul Allen, Pete Bercich, Greg Coleman and Ben Leber. There is also a national radio broadcast by Westwood One Sports with Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner and Laura Okmin calling the game.
Three things to watch:
Will differences in turnovers, field position continue— Eric Smith
Sometimes it's all about the little things.
The Vikings and Giants are separated by just a single game in the win-loss column, but a deeper dive at stats show Minnesota has the edge is some statistical categories.
Through three games, the teams have turnover differential of 14. Minnesota is plus-8 in the turnover battle while New York is minus-6. The Giants have yet to record an interception on defense and the Vikings have five.
A strong special teams unit has forced opposing offenses go a long way to get into scoring position. According to Football Outsiders, the Vikings rank fifth in the NFL as their opponents have had an average starting field position at their own 23.34-yard line. The Giants rank 25th in the league, allowing teams an average start at the 30.57-yard line.
Gaining ground — Lindsey Young
One thing to watch will be Minnesota's run game in its second full contest without Adrian Peterson. A tandem of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata increased the Vikings yards-per-rush average (2.4) at Carolina last Sunday and will look to gain more ground this week. The Vikings will have their task cut out for them as they face the Giants stout run defense, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Through the first three weeks of the regular season, New York has limited its opponents to 77.3 net rushing yards per game. Minnesota ranks seventh, allowing 84 net rushing yards per game.
Hand-in-hand to watch along with the running backs is the Vikings offensive line. Monday will mark T.J. Clemmings' second game starting at left tackle after Matt Kalil was placed on injured reserve, and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said earlier this week that he was happy with Clemmings' performance against the Panthers. The Vikings will look to their offensive line to create holes for the ground game to get up and running.
Secondary vs. Giants— Craig Peters
The Vikings secondary is ripe with talent and depth, and it's a good thing for Minnesota with New York's cast at wide receiver. Odell Beckham, Jr. (19 catches, 280 yards), Sterling Shepard (16 for 233) and Victor Cruz (11 for 195) form what former Vikings legend Randy Moss called a "three-headed monster."
None of the three were here in Week 16 a year ago for three separate reasons, but all are capable of stressing a defense. Minnesota has logged substantial playing time for Trae Waynes, who has two interceptions, and Xavier Rhodes played for the first time this year a week ago. Captain Munnerlyn is likely to get a lot of action at nickel against a team that loves its three-receiver set.* *
Know the New York Giants key contributors on offense, defense and special teams heading into Week 4's matchup.
—Giants quarterback Eli Manning has a passer rating of 54.8 in his career against the Vikings. Manning has thrown five touchdowns and 14 interceptions in eight games against Minnesota.
— Marcus Sherels recorded his fourth career punt return for a touchdown last week against Carolina, upping his own team record. The Vikings have 12 Vikings special teams touchdowns since 2011, the most in the league over that span.
— Minnesota's defense leads the league with 15 sacks. Everson Griffen leads the team with 4.0 while Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter each have 3.0. Brian Robison has a pair of sacks. Tom Johnson, Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr each have nabbed 1.0
— Vikings cornerback Terence Newman has 41 career interceptions, five of which have come against the Giants, his second-highest total against any team. Newman's career total, and the placement of DeAngelo Hall (43) on injured reserve this week, makes him the active leader in career picks.
"We'll need our fans to be really loud to help with their no-huddle offense and get that SKOL Chant going." — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on fan support at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Worth a watch
The Vikings defensive line has recorded 13 of the team's league-leading 15 sacks. Defensive line coach Andre Patterson sat down with Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com to break down the success of his unit.