A bit of mystery remained when we gazed into the crystal ball for the Vikings-Giants game … we knew the Giants would be without star wideout Odell Beckham (unsportsmanlike play) and that they would have nothing to play for, having been eliminated from the playoffs by Washington’s Saturday win. But we weren’t sure how important the game would be for the Vikings when we made these Bold Predictions.

MATT VENSEL, beat writer

The Vikings have struggled in prime time this season but they will finally look good tonight against an over matched Giants team that is missing its best player. The Vikings will score on their opening drive and go wire-to-wire for the win, setting up a winner-take-all showdown with the Packers next weekend.

MARK CRAIG, On the NFL columnist

Nose tackle Linval Joseph had the misfortune of being injured at the wrong time and it cost him a Pro Bowl berth. But he’ll return after missing three games and score the first touchdown of his career off a strip, sack and forced fumble by Danielle Hunter. His current team will beat his former team by two touchdowns.

JIM SOUHAN, columnist

The Vikings defensive line dominates for a second straight game, hassling Eli Manning into three important turnovers and producing a game-changing defensive score.

CHIP SCOGGINS, columnist

The Vikings can leave their boxing gloves at home since Odell Beckham Jr. will be serving his one-game suspension after losing his mind last week. That will give Mike Zimmer’s defense even more confidence and incentive to tee off on Eli Manning, who will have a miserable night with at least two interceptions in a lopsided Vikings victory.

MICHAEL RAND, Page 2 columnist

The Giants have nothing to play for and don’t have their most exciting player. The Vikings might not have anything to play for, either, if Green Bay loses while either Seattle wins or Atlanta loses. If that happens, I boldly predict whomever made the decision at NBC to flex this game into prime time will be wishing he or she could flex production of a time machine to undo that deed.

CHRIS MILLER, sports team leader

With nothing at stake, the loosey-goosey Giants, a better cold weather team, slip past the Vikings in what will be the Purple’s final appearance at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings will make the playoffs, but will be a wild card team and face nothing but road dates.

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Peterson is active; Barr, Smith and Joseph returning tnight