Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Final gun report: Giants 23, Vikings 7

Posted by: Chris Miller under Vikings defense Updated: October 21, 2013 - 10:55 PM

Josh Freeman’s debut as Vikings quarterback was an utter failure.

Freeman was under pressure most of the night, but was missing receivers all night, and threw a crucial interception as the Vikings lost to the Giants 23-7 on Monday in the Meadowlands.

Freeman was 20-for-53 for 190 yards and no touchdowns and a 40.6 passer rating as the Vikings fell to 1-5.

Adrian Peterson had the sixth-lowest rushing total of his NFL career with only 28 yards on 13 carries.

Eli Manning passed for 200 yards and a touchdown for the Giants.

Key player: Marcus Sherels

The Vikings return man and backup cornerback scored the second touchdown of his career on an 86-yard punt return in the first half.

But in the third quarter, Sherels missed an interception chance and, on the following play, fumbled the ball away on a punt return although he was untouched, setting up a Giants touchdown.

Sherels’ punt return was the third longest in team history, behind a 98-yarder by Charlie West in 1968 and a 91-yarder by Nate Burleson in 2004. It gave the Vikings a 7-3 lead. Sherels has two career punt return TDs, tying the team record held by David Palmer and Mewelde Moore.

But Sherels’  fumble was costly.  The Giants led 10-7 in the third quarter, and Sherels fielded Steve Weatherford’s kick at his own 10.  He stumbled ahead to the 13, but lost the ball when he hit the ground, untouched, and the Giants eventually recovered the bouncing ball at the 3.  Peyton Hillis scored two plays later on a 1-yard run.

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