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2023 Playoffs

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23 things to know about the Minnesota Vikings

JAYLON-SMITH

The Giants rung in 2023 by clinching a playoff berth. They had to wait a week, however, to find out they will return to Minnesota for Super Wild Card Weekend.

In an anticipation of the rematch, here are 23 things that Giants fans should know about the Vikings:

1. The Giants, Vikings, Jaguars, Dolphins, Chargers, and Ravens advanced to the playoffs this season after missing last year. This is the 33rd season in a row that the NFL has had at least four new playoff teams.

2. Greg Joseph's game-winner in Week 16 was the fifth field goal in NFL history that was 61 or more yards with zero time remaining in the fourth quarter, and the second that sent the Giants to defeat. On Sept. 24, 2017, Philadelphia's Jake Elliott kicked a 61-yard field to give the Eagles a 27-24 victory in Lincoln Financial Field.

3. The Vikings played in 11 one-possession games (including two that went to OT) this season – and won all of them.

4. The Vikings are 40-18 at U.S. Bank Stadium since it opened in 2016, including 1-0 in the postseason ("Minneapolis Miracle"). The Giants lost both their trips to the venue in 2016 and earlier this season.

5. Kirk Cousins passed for a career-high 460 yards with four touchdowns in the Vikings' 39-36 overtime win over Indianapolis in Week 15. He totaled all four of the touchdown passes and 417 passing yards in the second half and overtime, leading Minnesota back from a 33-0 deficit, the largest comeback victory in NFL history. The win also clinched the NFC North division title for Minnesota.

Cousins is the fifth Vikings quarterback to win an Offensive Player of the Week award at least three times with the team, joining Daunte Culpepper (eight-time winner), Randall Cunningham (three), Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (three) and Wade Wilson (three).

6. Kevin O'Connell and Brian Daboll are two of 27 first-year head coaches who have led their teams to the playoffs since the 2002 realignment. Miami's Mike McDaniel joined the group on Sunday.

7. Daboll evaluated O'Connell, a former quarterback, when he was coming out of San Diego State in the 2008 NFL Draft. "Show my age, but he's done a really nice job with that team," said Daboll, who was the Jets' quarterbacks coach from 2007 to 2008. "They've won a lot of one-score games. Give credit to the players, but give credit to him and his staff too. They've got a lot of good coaches on that staff and to be where they're at right now is a testament to him and his team. Smart player, really good guy, good family, he's done a nice job for that organization." O'Connell went on to be drafted in the third round by the Patriots. He ended his playing career with the Chargers in 2012, having appeared in two career games with New England.

8. O'Connell joined the Vikings after serving as the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams the past two seasons. Under the guidance of O'Connell, quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp both had career years in 2021. Stafford set the single-season team record for passing yards (4,886) and tied Kurt Warner from his 1999 MVP season for the most passing touchdowns in a season by a Rams quarterback with 41, while also winning his first playoff game in his 13th season in the NFL. Kupp, who was named 2021 NFL Offensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press and Super Bowl LVI MVP, had one of the best receiving seasons in NFL history, leading the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16), earning AP First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors.

9. The Vikings also have a first-year general manager in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who was previously the vice president of football operations for the Browns. Prior to Cleveland, Adofo-Mensah spent seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, where he first entered the NFL. During his tenure with the 49ers, Adofo-Mensah quickly advanced in the football research and development department. He joined the team as Football Research and Development Analyst (2013-15) before earning promotions to Manager of Football Research and Development in 2017 and Director of Football Research and Development in 2018.

Adofo-Mensah began his professional career as an associate portfolio manager at Taylor Woods Capital and Vice President/Executive Director at Credit Suisse as a commodities trader before entering the NFL in 2013. The Cherry Hill, New Jersey, native received his bachelor's degree in economics from Princeton University, where he also played basketball. After graduating from Princeton, Adofo-Mensah went on to receive his master's in economics from Stanford University.

10. Like the Giants, one of the Vikings' victories happened overseas. Joseph made a 47-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining in a 28-25 win over New Orleans at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where a week later Big Blue defeated Green Bay.

View rare photos of the Giants' history playing on Wild Card Weekend in the NFL Playoffs.

11. Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith have combined for 10 interceptions this season, the most by two Vikings teammates in a campaign since Antoine Winfield (four) and Darren Sharper (nine) totaled 13 in 2005.

12. Justin Jefferson surpassed Michael Thomas for the most receptions (324) by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history. He led the NFL with 1,809 receiving yards in 2022 and became the sixth player in NFL history with at least 1,800 receiving yards in a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson (1,964 receiving yards in 2012), Cooper Kupp (1,947 in 2021), Julio Jones (1,871 in 2015), Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,848 in 1995) and Antonio Brown (1,834 in 2015). Jefferson led the league with 128 receptions this season, the seventh-most receptions in a season in NFL history.

13. The Vikings' 13 wins are their most since having the same number in 2017 (when it was a 16-game schedule). After the "Minneapolis Miracle" in the Divisional Round against the Saints, the NFC North champions advanced to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles.

14. Minnesota is 21-30 all-time in the postseason. They have never won a Super Bowl in four appearances (IV, VIII, IX and XI). The Giants are 2-1 against them in the playoffs, winning 10-7 in a 1993 Wild Card matchup and 41-0 in the 2000 NFC Championship Game. Minnesota's only victory in the postseason series was in the 1997 Wild Card Round, where the Vikings scored 10 points in the final 90 seconds to win 23-22.

15. Zygi Wilf is the Owner/Chairman of the Vikings. The Wilf family purchased the club in 2005. Wilf, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Wilf, emigrated with his parents from Europe to the United States in the early 1950s and settled in New Jersey. He attended nearby Fairleigh Dickinson University, earning a bachelor's degree in economics and later graduated from New York Law School in Manhattan. According to the Vikings media guide, Wilf was an avid New York Giants fan sitting in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium in the 1960s.

16. Minnesota had five players selected to the Pro Bowl this year: Cousins (fourth appearance), Jefferson (third), tight end T.J. Hockenson (second), outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith (third), and long snapper Andrew DePaola (first).

17. Hockenson was acquired hours before the NFL trade deadline on Nov. 1. The deal involved Minnesota sending a 2023 second-round pick and 2024 third-round pick to Detroit to land the No. 8 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, as well as a fourth-round pick in 2023 and a conditional pick in 2024.

18. Offensive coordinator Wes Phillips previously served as pass game coordinator/tight ends coach for the Los Angeles Rams. Phillips' first year as a tight ends coach was in 2013 with the Dallas Cowboys, coaching Jason Witten to a 73-reception, 851-receiving yard, eight-touchdown season and Pro Bowl berth. Phillips, who played quarterback at UTEP (1999-2001), is a third-generation NFL coach. His grandfather, Bum, was the head coach of the Houston Oilers (1975-80) and New Orleans Saints (1981-85) and his father, Wade, has been a head coach for the Denver Broncos (1993-94), Buffalo Bills (1998-2000) and Dallas Cowboys (2007-10).

19. Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell spent the previous three seasons in the same role for the Denver Broncos (2019-21). The veteran defensive coach brought more than 30 seasons of NFL experience to O'Connell's staff. Donatell has helped coach teams to 14 playoff appearances and three Super Bowl berths. He was part of the Denver's back-to-back Super Bowl championships during the 1997 (XXXII) and 1998 (XXXIII) seasons, serving as the defensive backs coach from 1995-99.

20. Special teams coordinator Matt Daniels was previously the assistant special teams coach for the Dallas Cowboys under John Fassel.

21. Former Giants defensive lineman and co-captain Dalvin Tomlinson signed with the Vikings in 2021. Tomlinson, a second-round choice in 2017, never missed a start in four seasons with the Giants. The Giants have a few more connections with the Vikings. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka spent the 2015 offseason with the Vikings as a former quarterback. Defensive line coach Andre Patterson spent the previous eight seasons with the Vikings, the first six as the team's defensive line coach. In 2020, Patterson added the titles of co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

22. Outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith recorded his third double-digit sack total in the past four seasons. It was his first with the Vikings after he signed with Minnesota this offseason. The former Packer was limited to one game last season due to a back injury. Smith played his first four seasons in Baltimore, where Wink Martindale was a linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator.

23. Running back Dalvin Cook never missed a game for the first time in his career and recorded his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season on the ground.

View rare photos from the all-time series between the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings

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