MINNEAPOLIS — The Giants were finally getting their front line on defense together and believed that unity could help make up for the shortcomings of the inside linebacker and the secondary. The quartet of Kayvon Thibodeau and Aziz Ogullari on the outside linebacker and Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams on the inside gave the Giants a unit that was able to dominate games.
That unit played a huge role in last Sunday’s 20-12 win over the Chiefs, but that unit didn’t come out of Saturday’s 27-24 loss to the Vikings inside US Bank Stadium healthy and sound.
Ojulari was knocked out by Kirk Cousins in the second quarter, but then left with an ankle injury. Ojulari was moved to the locker room, a huge loss for the Giants. The Edge rusher ripped his second year since returning from a calf injury in Week 13, with 4.5 sacks in the past four games.
Ogollari said his ankle “rolled” and that an X-ray taken after the game came back negative for any structural damage.
“It hurt,” he said, and hoped he could play in the next game, on New Year’s Day against the Colts.
It was tough for Ojulari, who was terrified when he managed to get onto the field. A strained hamstring injury in training camp caused him to miss the first two games of the season. He was able to play in Weeks 3 and 4, but a calf injury sidelined him again, as he missed the next seven games.
Nick Gates started at left guard last week, but Ben Bredison returned from a knee injury and played the majority of the snaps against Washington. This did not lead to a change in the starting lineup, as the Jets were in the first team’s starting lineup against the Vikings. The Jets were called for a punitive touchdown in the first quarter and Bridson got the bulk of the work after that.
Before the first quarter ended, WR Justin Jefferson had three catches for 38 yards, allowing him to pick past Randy Moss for a Vikings franchise record for receiving yards in a season. He now has 1,756 yards. Moss had 1,632 yards in 2003.
Both teams are experts at playing close games this season. The Vikings are an NFL record 11-0 in one-possession games. The Giants have the second most wins in one-possession games, with a record of 8-3-1.
Tight games happen everywhere. Heading into the weekend, 133 games this season have been decided by eight points or less, the most in 15 weeks in league history. The Vikings are only the third team to win at least 10 games in a season by one possession, joining the Houston Oilers (1978) and Seahawks (2019).
The Giants had only two injured players on their inactive list: CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee) and G Shane Lemieux (toe). Other players not active in the game: WR David Sills, CB Rodarius Williams, and G Jack Anderson. … The Vikings were without two injured players: C. Jarrett Bradbury and C.B. Cameron Dantzler.
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