Losing their starting quarterback on the eve of the regular season appeared to be an ominous omen for the Minnesota Vikings, who instead have overcome the adversity and are stamping themselves as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The Vikings go for the fourth victory in as many games when they host the New York Giants on Monday night.
Minnesota has been among the league’s biggest early-season surprises following a season-ending injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, following a Week 1 win at Tennessee with impressive victories over Green Bay and Carolina. “I don’t know if they’re the best defense in the league but they’re one of them,” Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said of a unit that has permitted only 40 points. “They’re a great defense through in and throughout from the back and the front. All the way around, they’re a great team.” New York eked out a pair of narrow victories over Dallas and New Orleans before blowing a 12-point lead in a 29-27 home loss to the Washington Redskins. The mercurial Beckham drew unwanted headlines after the game when Giants coach Ben McAdoo admonished him for not controlling his emotions.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Vikings opened the betting week as 3.5-point home favorites for this Monday night matchup with the New York Giants. The Vikings’ spread quickly went up early in the week – peaking at -5 on Thursday and Friday – but money has come in on the Giants and the line is currently (Sunday evening) at -4.
The total opened at 43.5 and dropped by 1/2 point during the week to hit the current number of 43. Check out the complete line history here.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Giants (+0.5) – Vikings (-3) + home field (-3) = Vikings -5.5
Giants – DE O. Vernon (Prob Mon, wrist), CB E. Apple (Doub Mon, hamstring), RB R. Jennings (Doub Mon, thumb), CB D. Rodgers-Cromartie (Doub Mon, groin), DT R. Thomas (Out Mon, illness), T. M. Newhouse (Out Mon, calf), S D. Thompson (Out Mon, foot), S N. Berhe (Out Mon, concussion), RB S. Vereen (Elig Week 12, tricep), S M. Thompson (I-R, knee), FB N. Whitlock (I-R, foot), LB J. Thomas (I-R, knee), FB W. Johnson (I-R, stinger), TE M. LaCosse (I-R, knee).
Vikings – TE M. Pruitt (Prob Mon, knee), RB J. McKinnon (Prob Sun, toe), G A. Boone (Prob Mon, hip), FB Z. Line (Ques Mon, undisclosed), C N. Easton (Ques Mon, ankle), TE D. Morgan (Doub Mon, knee), DT S. Floyd (Early Nov, knee), RB A. Peterson (Elig Week 11, knee), T M. Kalil (I-R, hip), QB T. Bridgewater (I-R, knee), DT S. Crichton (I-R, undisclosed), QB T. Heinicke (Elig Week 8, foot), CB J. Price (I-R, knee), S A. Exum Jr (I-R, leg), G M. Harris (Elig Week 8, illness).
WEATHER REPORT: Minnesota’s fancy new U.S. Bank Stadium has a roof – no weather worries Monday night.
The New York Giants don’t have a cheerleading squad so the Minnesota Vikings are up unopposed.
ABOUT THE GIANTS (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS, 1-2 O/U): Injuries in both the offensive and defensive backfields could present a daunting obstacle for New York, which lost starting running back Rashad Jennings to a thumb injury in Week 2 and backup Shane Vereen possibly for the season with a torn triceps sustained last week. Quarterback Eli Manning, who was picked off twice while throwing for 350 yards last week, has plenty of receiving options at his disposal with Beckham, Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepard, but Vereen robs him of his top pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Jennings did not do much in practice Friday, raising the possibility that Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey will share the bulk of the carries. New York gave up 296 yards through the air last week and is dealing with myriad injuries in the secondary.
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS, 1-2 O/U): After stifling Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in its home opener in Week 2, Minnesota opened eyes across the league by dominating Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, snapping their 14-game winning streak at home 22-10. The Vikings took down the reigning NFC champions despite the absence of running back Adrian Peterson, who is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee sustained against the Packers. Quarterback Sam Bradford, who sat out the season opener following his acquisition from Philadelphia, has played superbly in his two starts, throwing for 459 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Minnesota’s defense has permitted only 13 points in the second half, helping to overcome 10-point deficits at Tennessee and Carolina.
* Giants are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 4.
* Vikings are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 Monday games.
* Over is 4-1 in Giants last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Under is 11-1 in Vikings last 12 vs. a team with a winning record.
* Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is giving a bit of an edge to the home favorite Vikings in this Monday night matchup with 54 percent of the picks. As for the total, 55 percent of the wagers are on the Over. View full consensus data here.
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