Giants
Vikings
19 - 20 Final
  for this game

Longwell boots Vikings to NFC North title

Dec 29, 2008 - 2:23 AM By Jon Avise PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Ryan Longwell and the Minnesota Vikings punched their tickets to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

Longwell kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired Sunday, lifting the Vikings to a 20-19 victory over the New York Giants and the NFC North Division title.

Minnesota (10-6) entered the game needing a win or a loss by the Chicago Bears. They got both, as Chicago dropped a 31-24 decision to the Houston Texans.

"We wanted to earn it," said quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who entered the year as the starter, was benched, and then reinstated as the No. 1 signal-caller two weeks ago. "We didn't want to let somebody beat somebody else to get in."

The Vikings will host to the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round next Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

For much of the second half, though, backing into the playoffs looked like Minnesota's only option.

The Vikings jumped out early before falling behind, 19-10, to the NFC's top-seeded Giants - who didn't play starting quarterback Eli Manning in the second half or running back Brandon Jacobs for the entire day.

But a 54-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Bernard Berrian with just more than 11 minutes remaining in the game drew Minnesota within 19-17.

A missed field goal by New York's John Carney from 48 yards left the door open for Longwell's heroics. The division title is Minnesota's first since 2000, the playoff appearance No. 25 in franchise history, tied for fourth-most in NFL history.

It wasn't an easy road back to the postseason for Minnesota, a team that overcame an 0-2 start, two switches at quarterback and the late-season distraction brought on by the controversy surrounding star defensive linemen Kevin and Pat Williams and their appealed suspensions for banned substances.

"Today, it was a microcosm of the whole season," Minnesota center Matt Birk said. "We just hung in there."

Minnesota controlled the first quarter against the already-clinched Giants (12-4), dominating time of possession by more than nine minutes. But the Vikings, who entered the day tied atop the NFC North with the Bears, had only 55 yards of offense to show for their work.

Longwell put Minnesota on the board with a 48-yard field goal to make it 3-0 early in the second quarter. The drive nearly ended prematurely when Adrian Peterson - who clinched his second consecutive NFL rushing title with 103 yards Sunday - fumbled at the Minnesota 45-yard-line.

Peterson has struggled with ball control of late, fumbling four times in Minnesota's home loss to Atlanta a week ago.

But Peterson - bottled up for much of the day by New York's defensive front - broke off a 67-yard touchdown run to atone for the mistake and extend his team's lead to 10-0 on Minnesota's next drive.

"It's just the way he runs, fighting for every yard, every inch," Jackson said of Peterson's fumble. "It's kind of a double-edged sword."

New York's offense moved the ball well against the Vikings defense on a day it had little to play for, including a 14-play, 89-yard drive that ate up nearly 7 1/2 minutes of the second quarter.

But the Giants managed just three field goals from Carney in the second half, including a 42-yarder at the end of the first half to keep the contest close.

"Our team did a lot of good things," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "But certainly not enough."

David Carr took over for Manning to begin the second half and didn't miss a beat, hitting Domenik Hixon for a 23-yard touchdown pass to nudge the Giants in front, 16-10.

Minnesota squandered an opportunity to take the lead late in the third quarter when Giants safety James Butler picked off Jackson in the end zone, jumping a post route and returning it into Vikings' territory thanks to a 15-yard unnecessary roughing penalty on Jackson at the end of the play.

Vikings head coach Brad Childress said the interception came because Jackson failed to look off New York's secondary.

"Obviously, it's a tough way to learn a lesson, on the 6 yard-line," Childress said.

But Minnesota's defense held firm, turning back the Giants offense at the 2-yard line and forcing New York to kick another field goal.

"A lot of adversity - we faced it early in the year, we faced it late in the year," Vikings receiver Bobby Wade said. "For us, it's really rewarding. We feel like we earned it."

Jackson was 16-for-26 for 239 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Carr was 8-for-11 off the bench for 110 yards and a touchdown.






  • 137
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Giants 19, Vikings 20  FinalDec 29 5:17 AM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 9 7 3 19
    MINNESOTA 0 10 0 10 20 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: MIN - FG, RYAN LONGWELL 48 YD, 0:08. Drive: 8
    plays, 37 yards in 3:38. Key plays:
    Jackson 19-yard pass to Taylor to
    New York 36. MINNESOTA 3-0
    MIN - TD, ADRIAN PETERSON 67 YD

    Dec 28 4:05 PM


  • NFL
    FG MIN
    50 YD
    NY GIANTS 19
    MINNESOTA 20 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants 19, Vikings 20  End of Reg.Dec 28 4:05 PM
  • 132
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 18 roots (Close Finish)

    Giants 19, Vikings 17  4th - 0:40Dec 28 4:00 PM
  • 114
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    maxmouse2008 Added 5 roots

    Giants 19, Vikings 17  4th - 1:55Dec 28 3:58 PM
  • 109
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 30 roots (Close Finish)

    Giants 19, Vikings 17  4th - 1:55Dec 28 3:56 PM
  • 79
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Giants 19, Vikings 17  4th - 3:17Dec 28 3:51 PM
  • 74
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 45 roots (Close Finish)

    Giants 19, Vikings 17  4th - 4:10Dec 28 3:49 PM
  • 29
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 24 roots (Close Finish)

    Giants 19, Vikings 17  4th - 6:55Dec 28 3:46 PM
  • 5
    roots
    oliveoil5872 Added 5 roots

    Giants 19, Vikings 17  4th - 9:20Dec 28 3:46 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIN
    BERNARD BERRIAN 54 YD PASS FROM TARVARIS JACKSON
    (RYAN LONGWELL KICK)
    NY GIANTS 19
    MINNESOTA 17 9:26 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants 19, Vikings 17  4th - 9:26Dec 28 3:39 PM


  • NFL
    FG NYG
    JOHN CARNEY 20 YD
    NY GIANTS 19
    MINNESOTA 10 11:22 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants 19, Vikings 10  4th - 11:22Dec 28 3:33 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 9 7 16
    MINNESOTA 0 10 0 10 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: MIN - FG, RYAN LONGWELL 48 YD, 0:08. Drive: 8
    plays, 37 yards in 3:38. Key plays:
    Jackson 19-yard pass to Taylor to
    New York 36. MINNESOTA 3-0
    MIN - TD, ADRIAN PETERSON

    Dec 28 3:26 PM


  • NFL
    TD NYG
    DOMENIK HIXON 23 YD PASS FROM JOHN CARNEY
    (JOHN CARNEY KICK)
    NY GIANTS 16
    MINNESOTA 10 9:29 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Giants 16, Vikings 10  3rd - 9:29Dec 28 3:04 PM


  • NFL
    FG NYG
    JOHN CARNEY 42 YD
    NY GIANTS 9
    MINNESOTA 10 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants 9, Vikings 10  HalfDec 28 2:34 PM


  • NFL
    FG NYG
    JOHN CARNEY 30 YD
    NY GIANTS 6
    MINNESOTA 10 1:03 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants 6, Vikings 10  2nd - 1:03Dec 28 2:23 PM


  • NFL
    FG NYG
    JOHN CARNEY 51 YD
    NY GIANTS 3
    MINNESOTA 10 9:30 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants 3, Vikings 10  2nd - 9:30Dec 28 1:57 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIN
    ADRIAN PETERSON 67 YD RUN
    (RYAN LONGWELL KICK)
    NY GIANTS 0
    MINNESOTA 10 11:22 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants 0, Vikings 10  2nd - 11:22Dec 28 1:49 PM


  • NFL
    NY GIANTS 0
    MINNESOTA 3 14:47 LEFT, 2ND QTR
    NYG BALL ON NYG 25 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Giants 0, Vikings 3  2nd - 14:47Dec 28 1:40 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 0
    MINNESOTA 0 0 END, 1ST QTR

    Dec 28 1:34 PM