5 Bold Predictions: Vikings vs. Giants – 2022 Wild Card Round

(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /

New York will blitz relentlessly

The Giants are one of the NFL’s most aggressive defenses, blitzing a league-high 39.7 percent of snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. Per Pro Football Focus, the Giants blitzed Kirk Cousins over 51 percent of the time in their previous meeting with the Vikings.

The aggressiveness of Wink Martindale isn’t going anywhere, but it represents one of the keys to Sunday’s game. The Vikings have to handle the blitz well if they want to win, and there are several factors that will determine if that happens.

The first is the banged-up offensive line. The Vikings will be without Brian O’Neill after he tore his Achilles tendon in a Week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and Garrett Bradbury’s availability is up in the air due to a lingering back injury. With backup center Austin Schlottmann also out for the year, it could mean that Chris Reed and the returning Blake Brandel could be starting on the offensive line.

To make matters worse, Ed Ingram allowed a league-leading 58 pressures this season, putting a target on the right side of the offensive line. This means that the Vikings have more to worry about than Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, but it also puts a spotlight on how Cousins responds to the blitz.

Cousins did well in the first meeting, posting a 120.2 passer rating when pressured and a 111.6 passer rating when blitzed. His overall numbers suggest those numbers aren’t sustainable, but the quick passing game helped the Vikings move the ball enough to get the win.

Even with Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney expected to return to the secondary, the Giants will blitz a lot, challenging the Vikings’ ability to move the ball.