The Minne-apple heads to the Big Apple as the Vikings hit the road against this weekend. This time the opponent is the New York Giants, a team that's won two straight and is led by former Vikings assistant coach Pat Shurmur.
Here are five Vikings-Giants storylines to watch this week.
1. Cousins and Co. look to rebound after disappointing showing in Chicago
They call football the ultimate team game, yet when the offense falls short of expectations it's highly likely one player will be subject to most of the criticism – the quarterback. Kirk Cousins was no exception this week in the aftermath of the Vikings six-point output last week in Chicago. Cousins and Co. have a chance to rebound, though, albeit on the road once again and against a team that has won its past two games. Working in Cousins favor is the fact that the New York pass defense ranks 25th in passing yards allowed (279.5) and 22nd in passer rating allowed (99.3). Of course the Giants defense look at Sunday's game as a potential get-right opportunity, as well, because the Vikings passing offense through four games ranks 31st in yards per game (169.0) and 21st in passer rating (88.6).
2. The next big test for rookie Daniel Jones
The Giants have turned to their future at the quarterback position. Rookie Daniel Jones has taken over for Eli Manning, and through two games it's all good. Jones and the Giants are 2-0 after a dramatic win on the road in Tampa Bay and a resounding 24-3 win over the Redskins at home last week. In those two games, Jones has completed 46 of 67 (68.7%) passes for 561 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. He's displayed poise in the pocket, toughness, the ability to avoid pressure and the ability to make plays with his legs. The competition ratchets up a notch – or two, or three – this week, though, with the Vikings coming to town.
3. Zimmer versus Shurmur
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer will call Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur a great person and friend as well as a great football coach. The two know each other well and have crossed paths at various times during their NFL careers, most recently and most notably when Shurmur was an assistant on Zimmer's staff in Minnesota. From their times competing against one another on the practice fields in Minnesota, these two coaches know each other well and this game-within-the-game will definitely factor into the outcome on Sunday.
4. Vikings offensive line reestablish
The Vikings offensive line, much maligned in recent seasons and offseasons, got off to a terrific start in 2019. In the first three games, the Vikings boasted the NFL's leading rusher and the second most productive rushing offense and they also allowed only two sacks. But last week in Chicago, the running game was thwarted and Cousins was sacked six times. It's amazing what one game of regression can do to three games of progress. It begs the question – how will they perform in Week 5?
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Giants.
5. Vikings defense up to its old tricks
In its last 29 series, the Vikings defense has forced the opposition to punt 17 times and has allowed only three touchdowns. The Vikings enter Week 5 tied with Carolina and Pittsburgh for the league lead in tackles for loss with 24. Last week in Chicago, the Vikings defense did not allow a run of more than seven yards and limited Chicago to 2.2 rushing yards per attempt. The impressive stats and accolades are too many to print right here, but suffice it to say the Vikings defense has been outstanding once again in 2019 save for the first three possessions of the Week 2 loss in Green Bay.