The New York Giants aimed to stop the Vikings’ running game on Monday night, and they did.
Adrian Peterson had 13 carries for 28 yards (sixth lowest of his 99-game career) as the Vikings lost 23-7 at MetLife Stadium.
Peterson played despite a right hamstring injury, and said after the game the offense is “out of whack.”
“One thing I’m going to stress on is being more physical as an offensive unit,” Peterson said. “We were more physical last year, and that’s what stands out this year.
“I’ve seen these guys perform, and I know they can. It’s just kind of been in a funk. … So we can’t just focus on the offensive line. There’s a lot of things we can do as a unit to get better.”
Coach Leslie Frazier spent much of Tuesday’s news conference at Winter Park talking about his team’s passing game, but acknowledged the running game’s futility as well.
The Vikings were second in the NFL last season, averaging 164.6 rushing yards per game. This season they are 19th at 102.0.
“We’ve got to get our run game on track,” Frazier said. “It puts too much pressure on our passing game when we don’t run the football better. Our offensive line will have to play better. Our tight ends will have to block better. Our backs will have to block better. And we’ll have to do a better job coming up with ways to create situations for our run game from a coaching standpoint to make us more effective.”
Left tackle Matt Kalil (back) made it through the entire game. Fullbacks Matt Asiata (shoulder) and Rhett Ellison (ankle) suffered injuries, and Frazier said he would provide an update Wednesday.
The Vikings defense limited the Giants to 267 yards, and held them to 64 rushing yards on 32 attempts.
But the Vikings forced no turnovers, and two of their defensive players made costly mistakes.
Cornerback Marcus Sherels, who had an 86-yard punt return touchdown in the first half, dropped what should have been an interception with a clear field in front of him in the third quarter, with the Vikings trailing 10-7. On the next play, Sherels fumbled on a punt return and the Giants recovered at the Vikings 3, setting up a touchdown.
Then early in the fourth quarter, after Josh Brown’s field goal put the Giants ahead 16-7, Vikings rookie defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd grabbed a short kickoff and rumbled to the 25 before fumbling the ball away. Brown kicked another field goal four plays later.
“We had some opportunities, multiple opportunities during the course of that game to get it going in the direction that we wanted it to,” said Frazier. “It didn’t happen.
“But our defense stepped up and really improved. They improved in a lot of areas, and if they continue to play like that, continue to make improvement, we’ll have our chances, and we’ll get things turned.”
The Viking added cornerback Shaun Prater on Tuesday, a day after he was cut by the Eagles. Cornerback Jacob Lacey, who was signed last week but did not play on Monday night despite being active, was released.