Giants backfield will look different -- again

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants planned to feature two running backs this season, David Wilson and Andre Brown.

On Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings, they'll hand the ball to two players who were out of the league last month.

Brandon Jacobs, signed after Week 1, should start after his 22-carry, 106-yard performance against the Chicago Bears last week. Jacobs has been limited in practice the past two days because of a hamstring issue, but expects to play.

And offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride confirmed Friday that the Giants will use Peyton Hillis, who signed with the team just three days ago, as well.

"He's gonna have to play -- the injuries factor has been incredible," Gilbride said. "He’s gonna play some -- we’re just kinda waiting and seeing and trying to judge exactly how much he can pick up in a short period of time."

This season was supposed to be Wilson's coming-out party, after showing flashes of future stardom as a rookie. Instead, he fumbled twice in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, and then injured his neck against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5.

("I feel fine," Wilson saod, when approached by reporters on Friday, but he didn't want to comment further. "I’m waiting, like the doctor said. I’ll know more in a month.")

Brown suffered a fractured leg in the Giants' final preseason game, was placed on short-term injured reserve, and is eligible to return on Nov. 10 against the Oakland Raiders.

Jacobs barely played in 2012, and went unsigned this past offseason. Before the game against the Bears two Thursdays ago, Jacobs hadn't had that many carries in a game since 2009.

"The thing that he did last week was inspirational, to be honest with you," Gilbride said. "To see the toughness he displayed and the commitment he made to our football team."

But Gilbride wasn't sure how much Jacobs will have left in the tank this week, especially given the hamstring problem. "I know he's gonna give us everything he's got," Gilbride said. "We'll just play it by ear and see how he's holding up."

Hillis, 27, rushed for 1,177 yards for the Cleveland Browns in 2010. But he had just 896 yards in the last two years combined, and was out of the league until the Giants came calling this week.

He did spend some time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers early in the season, although he didn't play. The Bucs' offensive coordinator, Mike Sullivan, is a former Giants assistant.

"Fortunately he’s a bright guy," Gilbride said of Hillis. "He's been down in Tampa Bay, which uses our system. So he's more familiar than the average guy would be coming into a brand new situation. ... Right now he’s been impressive."

The Giants, even with Jacobs' performance last week, have been far from impressive running the ball this year. They're ranked third-to-last in the NFL, averaging just 67.8 rushing yards per game.

Now they're depending on two players picked up off the scrap heap.

Cause for concern? You bet.