Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
True to his word, Tom Coughlin played to win a game that had no bearing on the Giants' playoff position. It's just that he used mostly reserves to do it in the second half.
Coughlin pulled Eli Manning and several other key players at halftime, but it still took a 50-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell at the gun to win the game for the Vikings. The Vikings (10-6) will be the No. 3 seed in the playoffs and the Giants (12-4) already had the No. 1 spot sewn up after last Sunday's win over the Panthers. I'm sure Coughlin was disappointed with the loss, but I don't think it will shake the team's confidence. The Giants finished the regular season by losing three of four, but they regained a lot of momentum in the win over the Panthers.
Manning was 11 of 19 for 119 yards before leaving the game, and David Carr filled in nicely in the second half, going 8 of 11 for 110 yards and a touchdown. When Coughlin heard about Ben Roethlisberger leaving a game with a concussion, I'm sure he felt like his decision was validated.
As expected, starting running back Brandon Jacobs sat out and Derrick Ward received the bulk of the carries. He finished with 15 rushes for 77 yards, which gave the Giants the fifth tandem in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards.
MVP candidate Adrian Peterson rushed for 108 yards against the Giants, but 67 of those yards came on one play.
In the whole scheme of things, it was a successful day for the Giants because no one sustained any serious injuries. It had to gnaw at Coughlin to remove the starters, but he did the right thing. Now the Giants can sit back and figure out who they'll play in the divisional round on Jan. 10 or 11.