Preparations for the Vikings are underway at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center as the Giants look to climb above .500. Minnesota is trying to do the same thing.
Here are five things we learned from Wednesday's practice:
1. Saquon caused a stir. Saquon Barkley can't sneeze without someone noticing. So when the star running back was seen running around on the field today just 10 days after suffering a high ankle sprain, well, you can imagine.
"Honestly, that's a pretty interesting story," tight end Evan Engram said. "I don't know how—that's just crazy. I think his body is just made in a lab, I don't know."
During his Wednesday press conference, coach Pat Shurmur both stoked the flames and poured water on the development. "Some people's doctors had him (out for) eight weeks," Shurmur said. "Not my doctors."
So is he or isn't he ruled out for Sunday?
"We're just going to see where he's at," Shurmur said. "He's out there moving around. I've seen him moving around. I guess this is the first opportunity for (the media) to, so that's probably why it's a point of interest."
The bottom line is Barkley is progressing.
"I think he is doing well and he's going to be patient and we are going to make sure he is feeling good when he comes back," Jones said. "To have him back out there, he is a captain, he is a leader on our team, so it's great to have him back out there."
The Giants opened their Week 5 practices on Wednesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
2. Giants focused on playing to their strengths vs. Minnesota's defense. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is one of the great defensive minds in the NFL, and he will be scheming against a quarterback about to make his third career start. But Daniel Jones has proved to be more than a typical rookie.
"I think they are a very complete team," Jones said. "Compared to the teams we have played, they are definitely up there. Like coach said, they have a good front seven and they are really good in the back end, too. I think we'll be ready, I think we have a plan to attack, a plan to handle what they do well. Realize it's about what we do well, too. It's about playing to our strengths and we will have a plan to do that. We're confident and I'm looking forward to it."
"Well, I don't know how different it is," Shurmur said of the Vikings D in comparison to the other teams Jones has faced. "We all watched the games, we've played against some really good defenses so far. I don't want to minimize what we've played against, because Tampa has an outstanding front. They've got a guy (Shaquil Barrett) who's knocking the league out in pass rushing. This team is going to be as good of a front as we're going to face, but we've already played against some good fronts. The important thing is to make good, quick decisions, (and) get the ball out of your hands. We've got to do what we can to help minimize the effect that (Everson) Griffen, (Danielle) Hunter and those guys have on the passer. (Stephen) Weatherly, they've got a lot of guys."
3. Injury Report. Did not participate in practice: RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring), G Kevin Zeitler (shoulder). Limited: LB Lorenzo Carter (neck), LB Tae Davis (concussion), RB Wayne Gallman (neck), LT Nate Solder (neck). Shurmur said a lot of it is just "game soreness."
"This time of year, it kind of creeps up," he continued. "By the end of the week, most, if not all, of these guys will be ready to go. This is a tough team. I was telling our guys, having been up there for two years and coached with Zim, I know their mindset. I know how they function. This is an old-school team. They have a progressive mindset, certainly, but they're old school. A lot of what they do there, we try to do here in terms of building our team. It's going to be quite a test for us."
4. Key for Sunday is stopping Dalvin Cook. The Vikings running back is one yard behind Carolina's Christian McCaffrey for the rushing lead through four weeks, and while Minnesota has talented weapons in the passing game, the Giants are keyed on stopping the run.
"I know this, when they get grooving running the ball, and I was with Dalvin Cook, an outstanding runner, and they've got a list of runners behind him that are very good," Shurmur said. "They've improved their offensive line. I knew (Kyle) Rudolph, Irv Smith, those guys— when they get going and then their play actions, their boots and their nakeds are all tied to that, they are very dynamic. I was with all of those receivers, mainly (Stefon) Diggs and (Adam) Thielen. Those guys can win one-on-one matchups when they are choosing to throw the ball. I don't know about all of that stat stuff, I just know that they are very dangerous."
5. Zimmer on Jones: "I think he's good now, but I think he's going to be really, really good." Zimmer spoke today on a conference call with Giants reporters and was asked about preparing for their offense with a dual-threat quarterback in Jones, as opposed to Eli Manning.
"In some aspects, it's completely different," Zimmer said. "He moves a lot more, he scrambles, we saw him scramble for the touchdown against Tampa Bay, he can get outside the pocket quite a bit more. It looks like—Eli (Manning) was a great player, so I'm not trying to bash him whatsoever—but Jones just seems like he's playing very free, he just sees it and lets it loose, and he's not worried about any ramifications, he's just going out and playing the game, it looks like to me."
And how does it compare to the offense Shurmur ran with Case Keenum during their time together in Minnesota?
"There's some similarities, yeah," Zimmer said. "They're two different style quarterbacks, but there are some similarities in some of the plays, with some of the things he ran when he was here. But honestly, they're two different quarterbacks for the most part. Daniel, I think the guy is going to be really, really good, honestly. I think he's good now, but I think he's going to be really, really good. He looks like a big time NFL quarterback that can move in the pocket, can make all the throws, looks like he makes quick decisions, moves under duress, so I think there's a lot of good things that are going on with him."
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