By Barry Wilner,AP
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — The New York Giants got their first win of the season by holding Adrian Peterson in check and converting Minnesota mistakes into a 23-7 victory on Monday night.
The Giants began the season with six losses in which they were the team turning over the ball while showing little penchant for playing defense. But against the Vikings, they were efficient enough, if not overwhelming, and had three takeaways to one lost fumble.
Peterson, the league’s Most Valuable Player last season and a 2,000-yard rusher, was held to 28 yards five days after his 2-year-old son was buried in South Dakota. The man accused in the death was indicted on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, prosecutors said Monday.
Peterson was not helped by a rusty Josh Freeman, making his debut as Vikings quarterback after being signed as a free agent when Tampa Bay cut the 2009 first-round draft pick. Freeman frequently missed open receivers, and several of his throws sailed yards beyond his targets.
Josh Brown kicked three field goals and Rueben Randle caught a 24-yard TD pass for New York.
Marcus Sherels provided Minnesota’s points with an 86-yard punt return, but his fumble without being hit during a runback midway in the third quarter set up New York at the Vikings 3.
Peyton Hillis, signed last Wednesday with the Giants in dire need of running backs, surged in from the 1 for a 17-7 lead — New York’s biggest in 2013.
The lead grew on Brown’s 23-yard field goal to finish off a 16-play, 75-yard drive, and to 23-7 on his 36-yarder. Another Vikings mistake handed those points to the Giants: Rookie Sharrif Floyd, a defensive tackle of all things, fumbled at Minnesota’s 18 while returning a short kickoff.
Manning, who led the league with 15 interceptions, didn’t throw one for the first time all season. And while Freeman was picked only one time, by Antrel Rolle, he looked like someone who hadn’t played in more than a month.