Giants Depth At Running Back To Be Tested As Team Hosts Vikings on MNF
By Curt Macysyn
The Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants prepare to square off in a Monday Night Football contest that few imagined at the start of the season. The teams have combined for one win, and each has had a couple of blowouts mixed in the losses. The biggest story line to this game is not injury related, as newly signed quarterback Josh Freeman will make his Vikings debut.
New York Giants
The New York Giants patchwork offensive line performed adequately against the Chicago Bears last Thursday, as veteran running back Brandon Jacobs rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns. But Jacobs tweaked a hamstring in the second half and has been limited in practice this week. On Monday, rookie seventh round draft pick Michael Cox was the only healthy running back at practice. On Tuesday, the team once again waived Da’Rel Scott who also injured his hamstring against the Bears. Since Scott was waived-injured and cleared waivers, he is now placed on the Giants injured reserve list and out for the year.
On Wednesday, Big Blue inked former 1,000 yard rusher Peyton Hillis to a contract in order to provide some depth at the halfback position. Brandon Jacobs was limited in practice this week, but the big back insists he will be ready for action come Monday. Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride declared that Hillis will be on the 53-man roster come Monday, as a hedge against Jacobs hamstring injury.
Other than Adrien Robinson, who practiced on a limited basis this week, the injury report stayed very much the same. Cornerback Terrell Thomas did not practice on Thursday, but came back on a limited basis on Friday, so it simply may have been a maintenance day for him. Center David Baas was limited in practice all week with a lingering neck injury, but Giants head coach Tom Coughlin hinted that Baas may return for Monday’s game. The Giants’ coach also praised backup center Jim Cordle for his work in Baas’ absence.
A trio of defensive backs are also on the injury list for another week: Corey Webster (groin), Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and Cooper Taylor (shoulder) were all limited in practice on Thursday and questionable for the game on Monday. Word from Giants camp is that Hosley may play, but if he cannot cannot, then both Trumaine McBride and rookie Charles James (Charleston Southern) will see action. Corey Webster was held out of practice on Friday, and his return for Monday would appear to be questionable at best.
Struggling defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul did not practice on Friday due to illness, but expect JPP to play on Monday according to Coughlin. Pierre-Paul has only one sack this season.
No linebackers showed up on the injury report this week.
The Vikings are nursing some keys injuries in advance of the game as well. All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson was limited in practice this week with a hamstring injury, so if Peterson is far less than 100 percent, then more pressure will be placed on quarterback Josh Freeman.
Starting safety Harrison Smith has a toe injury and has been placed on the injured reserve designated for return list. His place in the secondary will be taken by Andrew Sendejo, according to Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. According to reports, Smith may need toe surgery on an injury worse than first reported. Backup cornerbacks A.J. Jefferson and Xavier Rhodes both have ankle injuries. Jefferson did not practice on Thursday and his status for Monday is questionable. Rhodes, a 2013 first round pick, was limited in practice on Thursday, but he will probably play.
Another concern for the Vikings is kicker Blair Walsh who pulled his left hamstring. Walsh has a strong leg and is accurate as well, so if he is not 100 percent, the Vikings could suffer in the kicking game. Walsh sat out practice on Friday. Punter Jeff Locke handled kickoff duties last week against the Carolina Panthers with two touch backs to his credit.
Offensive tackle Matt Khalil showed up on the injury report with a lower back injury. Khalil was held out of practice on Friday, so his status for Monday is questionable. If Khalil is unable to play, that would be a big loss for the Vikings.
Expect big bodied defensive tackle Kevin Williams to be in the lineup on Monday, despite being limited in practice with a knee injury. But Williams injury may mean more repetitions for first round draft pick Sharif Floyd. The rookie from the University of Florida has only five tackles on the season, but he did get his first solo sack against the Panthers last week.
New York Giants
- CB Terrell Thomas (Knee)
- RB Brandon Jacobs (Hamstring)
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Illness)
- C David Baas (Neck)
- CB Jayron Hosley (Hamstring)
- TE Adrien Robinson (Foot)
- CB Corey Webster (Groin)
- S Cooper Taylor (Shoulder)
- RB David Wilson (Neck)
- OG Chris Snee (Hip/Injured Reserve)
- RB Da’Rel Scott (Hamstring/Injured Reserve)
- OT Matt Khalil (Back)
- DE Jared Allen (Ankle)
- RB Adrian Peterson (Hamstring)
- WR Jarius Wright (Ankle)
- K Blair Walsh (Hamstring)
- DT Kevin Williams (Knee)
- CB Xavier Rhodes (Ankle)
- CB A.J. Jefferson (Ankle)
- S Harrison Smith (Toe/Injured Reserve-Designated for Return)
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.