Before each game, our Vikings coverage team makes predictions graded on a 1-10 scale of difficulty. Leader at the end of the season covers the Christmas Eve game in Green Bay … and so does the loser.
MATT VENSEL, Vikings beat writer
The Vikings defense will dominate again, a not-so-bold prediction at this point that will surely get no respect from Mr. Miller. But the Vikings sealing a victory with a late TD on D? That’s got to be worth something, right?
Degree of difficulty: One. So what you are saying is the Vikings will be way ahead and someone will intercept a desperate pass and return it for a TD? I heard that same prediction from the four-year-old sitting behind me in church!
MARK CRAIG, On The NFL writer
Since the taps will still be overflowing, let’s keep this Ryder Cup vibe going a little longer. Eli Manning duck hooks his opening tee ball to Harrison Smith, slices a couple more to Terence Newman and Trae Waynes and does what he does: Lose ugly to the Vikings as a team while playing even uglier as a two-time Super Bowl champion. Eli loses to the Vikings for the sixth time in the past eight meetings, blames Hal Sutton and/or Tom Watson and forms a Garden State task force to figure out why the color purple makes him so jittery.
Degree of difficulty: Three. Covering the Ryder Cup was good therapy for Mark, because he doesn’t like crowds. Look for him in your parking lot tonight wearing his BACK OFF t-shirt.
JIM SOUHAN, columnist
The Giants have a quarterback who has won two Super Bowls and one of the best young receiving duos in the game, but it will be a young Viking who will make the biggest plays on Monday night. It’s time for Jerick McKinnon to elevate the offense and his personal stock. The Vikings have had no running game and had to adopt a short passing game to beat Carolina. McKinnon can help in both, and his superior athletic ability should show up in a big way against the Giants. Vikings 19, Giants 15.
Degree of difficulty: Two. After being inside the ropes at golf’s premier event for a few days, Jim returns to sit next to Sid in the press box. What a glamorous life.
ANDREW KRAMMER, Vikings digital reporter
Blair Walsh will kick the Vikings’ game-winning field goal … on his first make in the second quarter as they take a lead and ultimately win by holding Eli Manning and company out of the end zone entirely, 23-9.
Degree of difficulty: Two. Eli ain’t getting no respect. Are we not blinded by his Super Bowl rings?
CHIP SCOGGINS, columnist
Eli Manning typically stinks when he faces the Vikings. He throws a lot of interceptions and basically looks miserable. Maybe he should take Peyton up on his invitation and come over for nachos.
Degree of difficulty: Zero. That wasn’t really a prediction, but Chip was stuck for eight hours in the Pittsburgh airport yesterday and is no mood for anything but Tennessee football, which is why he worked Peyton’s name in there.
MICHAEL RAND, digital sports editor
The last time the Vikings and Giants played on Monday Night Football, Josh Freeman had one of the worst games anyone could imagine. It was his only start in purple. This go-round, Sam Bradford, in his third Vikings start, will have one of the best games in Vikings history and will throw five TD passes. Eli Manning will match him in the other direction, throwing five interceptions in a Vikings rout.
Degree of difficulty: Five. Bringing up Josh Freeman, now that just plain hurts. It’s like saying Hazeltine is just 80 acres of corn and few cows short of a good farm.