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(Sunday, January 3rd)
Final Score: Minnesota 44, NY Giants 7
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Brett Favre threw four touchdown passes as the Vikings pummeled a listless Giants team, 44-7, to close out the regular- season on a high note and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs by taking the NFC's No. 2 seed.
Favre ended with 316 yards passing on 25-of-31 attempts and notched 30-plus TD passes for the ninth time in his career -- an NFL record -- while going over 4,000 yards passing for a sixth time.
Sidney Rice caught six passes for 112 yards and two of those scores while Visanthe Shiancoe totaled 94 yards on seven receptions with a touchdown.
Adrian Peterson ran for a score and 54 yards on nine touches for Minnesota (12-4), which only clinched a trip through to the second round of the playoffs by way of Philadelphia's loss to Dallas later in the day.
The Vikings had lost three of four prior to Sunday's dismantling of New York to fall out of the driver's seat.
"It's a nice momentum boost, exactly what we needed," Favre said of the lopsided final. "That in itself doesn't guarantee any sort of draw, but it's important that we can play that way."
Eli Manning completed a high percentage of passes despite the blowout but also threw an interception and lost a fumble. He finished 17-of-23 for 141 yards.
Third-year running back Danny Ware logged his first NFL touchdown to represent the only points for New York (8-8), which was eliminated from playoff contention with last week's equally humiliating 41-9 shellacking by Carolina in the team's final game at Giants Stadium.
The Giants closed out the season with eight defeats in their final 11 games after getting out to a promising 5-0 start and are postseason spectators for the first time in five years. The incredible free fall, which included being outscored 85-16 in the season's final two weeks, was a far cry from New York's 2008 campaign where it secured the NFC's top seed for the playoffs after claiming the NFC East title with a 12-4 record.
"That's why they are in the position they're in," a frustrated Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in conceding credit to the Vikings. "One year ago today, we were in that position. The last two games have been very poor and we could never, ever accept what happened on the field. I am very disappointed."
A certain result was determined only two quarters in as Minnesota tied a franchise record for its largest lead at the half after rolling to a 31-0 advantage.
The Vikings amassed a whopping 343 yards of offense to New York's 82 over the opening 30 minutes. Twenty-six of the Giants' yards came on a meaningless dump-off to Ahmad Bradshaw on the final play of the first half.
The scoring barrage began right from the outset as Favre capped Minnesota's opening drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Shiancoe. The first quarter came to a close with the Vikings in the midst of their second scoring odyssey and Ryan Longwell kicked a 36-yard field goal moments into the fresh frame for a 10-0 game.
A 91-yard drive found the end zone in six plays a short time later as Minnesota extended its lead to 17-0. A 50-yard completion to Rice and a 27- yard hookup with Shiancoe helped set up Peterson's one-yard romp across the goal-line.
A second straight sub four-minute scoring trek pushed the lead to 24-0 after Favre found Rice across the middle on a four-yard TD strike.
Minnesota had the ball back at the Giants' 40 in short order after a turnover on the next play from scrimmage and owned a 31-0 lead shortly thereafter with Favre lofting a jump ball to the back right corner of the end zone for Rice, who came down with the 12-yard score just before halftime.
Longwell's 24-yard boot finished off the hosts' first drive of the new half for a 34-0 difference. Manning was sacked by Jared Allen and fumbled it back to the Vikings two plays later at his own eight. Minnesota moved it to the one for a fourth-down play and Brad Childress left it in the hands of Favre, who found fullback Naufahu Tahi for his fourth TD pass on the day.
Tarvaris Jackson was called in to lead the offense with the score 41-0 and led a 32-yard scoring drive that ended with Longwell's 27-yard field goal just before the close of the third quarter.
Ware's one-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter put a wrap on the scoring.
Jackson came on to complete 4-of-6 passes for 42 yards in relief of Favre...David Carr entered in the second half for Manning and hit on 3-of-5 passes for 26 yards...Percy Harvin had seven catches for 59 yards for the Vikings, who wound up outgaining New York 487-181...Steve Smith logged a game- high 10 receptions for 57 yards for the Giants.
01/03 19:35:51 ET