Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  By BRIAN HALL  |  Last updated 10/20/13
"Are you ready for some football?" Well, it's still, technically, football on Monday night in New York as the 1-4 Minnesota Vikings face the 0-6 New York Giants. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported this week the combined 1-10 record will be the worst winning percentage for a "Monday Night Football" game in history this deep into the season, a stretch that dates back to the debut of "Monday Night Football" in 1970 and includes 684 games. When this matchup was announced in the offseason, Minnesota was coming off a playoff appearance and New York was one game behind the Wild Card Vikings last year, with two recent Super Bowl championships to its credit. Minnesota and the Giants aren't thinking of this game as a clunker. The Vikings and Giants need wins and don't want their seasons to devolve any further. Here's five things to watch as the Vikings begin a string of three games in four weeks in primetime: 1. Freeman and the future? For Minnesota, all eyes will be on quarterback Josh Freeman. Signed just two weeks ago, Freeman will start Monday night and has the chance to secure the starting spot the rest of the season. The Vikings signed Freeman to give him a trial run as the starter and see if he can offer some stability at the position. He's the third starting quarterback for Minnesota in four games. Christian Ponder, who entered the season as the undisputed starter, will be the backup. Matt Cassel, who started the past two games, is the third quarterback and likely will be inactive. Freeman is trying to re-establish himself in the league and help the Vikings solve the quarterback position. Freeman was once believed to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise quarterback. He's 6-foot-6, 248 pounds and has a big, strong arm. Maybe Freeman can help Minnesota's passing game, which ranks 21st in the NFL, and get more out of the team's improved receivers. Freeman likes to attack downfield. There was a reason Freeman was available though, after run-ins with the Tampa Bay staff and coach Greg Schiano. Freeman had started 59 of 60 possible games for the Buccaneers before being benched prior to Week 4. He had 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season before throwing nine interceptions and two touchdowns in the final three weeks. He now has four touchdowns and 12 interceptions over his last six starts. 2. Keeping Peterson in the game While the focus is on Freeman, the best thing for Minnesota and the new quarterback will be getting Adrian Peterson going. Peterson was taken out of the game last week because of the big deficit and backup Toby Gerhart played more in the second half with the Vikings sticking mostly to the passing game. Peterson finished with just 10 carries for 62 yards, the fewest carries he's had in a game since a 42-20 loss on Dec. 18, 2011. Peterson, listed as probable with a hamstring injury, is ahead of his pace through five games from last year as he was returning from knee surgery. He had 23 carries for 140 yards two games ago in Minnesota's lone win. The Vikings will need Peterson to control Monday night's game, as well. The Giants are 26th in the league against the run, allowing 123.3 rushing yards a game. More Peterson would go a long way to help Minnesota improve its efficiency. 3. Where are the sacks The Vikings and Giants have been known over the years for their defense and ability to pressure the quarterback. New York has had several top pass rushers breakthrough for big seasons, and still has Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka. Yet, the Giants are last in the NFL with just five sacks this season. Kiwanuka leads the team with 1.5 sacks. Meanwhile, Minnesota has also struggled to get opposing quarterbacks on the ground with Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen. The Vikings are tied for the fourth-fewest sacks in the league this season with 10. Allen has a team-leading 3.5 sacks through five games. The onus will be on two offensive lines who have struggled, respectively. New York has allowed 16 sacks, tied for the 12th most in the league. Minnesota's offensive line has not met expectations in pass or run blocking and is tied for 18th with 14 sacks allowed. Left tackle Matt Kalil also missed the last two days of practice with a back injury and is listed as questionable. 4. Always the turnovers The Vikings always point to turnover-margin and this season is no different. Minnesota has been better at getting takeaways than it has been in recent seasons, but the success has been undone with the amount of turnovers on offense. The Vikings are even in turnover-margin this season, tied for eighth in the league with 12 takeaways, but tied for sixth with 12 turnovers. Minnesota has lost two games in which it has had four takeaways. The only game the Vikings have avoided turnovers was the season's lone win against Pittsburgh. New York's season has been defined by its turnovers. The Giants have a league-high 23 turnovers, eight more than the closest team. Quarterback Eli Manning has thrown a league-high 15 interceptions, four more than Carson Palmer. Minnesota, without safety Harrison Smith, doesn't have an interception this season from any defensive back on the active roster. New York has lost seven fumbles as well. The Giants have generated just seven takeaways for a league-worst minus-16 turnover margin. 5. Manning without the support While Freeman has Peterson to take pressure off him, Manning doesn't have the same support from his running game. Brandon Jacobs, who surprised with 106 yards and two touchdowns last week, suffered a hamstring injury and didn't finish last week's game. Jacobs was a limited participant in practice earlier this week before missing the final day of practice with a reported setback and he's now listed as questionable. New York is already without No. 1 running back David Wilson, who has a neck injury. If Jacobs isn't able to play, the Giants only have Peyton Hillis, signed this week, and rookie Michael Cox, a seventh-round draft pick. New York's running game ranks 30th in the NFL in this year. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jason Day tearfully withdraws from PGA event to be with ailing mother

Matt Barnes on Derek Fisher chants: ‘I’m sick of that s—’

Brent Musburger admits he once bet on a game he broadcasted

Jeff Hornacek: Knicks will run triangle ‘exclusively’ next season

Reese Witherspoon to speak to women’s gathering at NFL owners meetings

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Doug Gottlieb will interview for Oklahoma State job

Aaron Hernandez trial put on hold as jury questioned about Reddit-related comment

Conor McGregor has punishment for epic UFC 202 press conference changed

Mauricio Ortega may avoid criminal charges for memorabilia thefts

John Calipari signs two-year contract extension with Kentucky

NFL COO: Oakland stadium ‘has life safety issues’

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Box Score 3/21: WBC semis are bat-flipping fun

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

NBA Western Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

MLB players most likely to break out in 2017

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Eat, Drink, Watch: A weekend of March Madness and more

The 'Who will ruin your glorious bracket this year?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker