NFL playoffs SDSU football
New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger (82) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings, Jan. 15th, 2023, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire)

In a contest that matched two San Diego State alums, the New York Giants will move on in the NFL playoffs, after defeating the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 Sunday.

In his first year at the helm, former Aztec quarterback Kevin O’Connell (2004-07) coached the Vikings to a 13-4 record in the regular season, but his team fell to the 9-7-1 Giants in the Wild Card round. 

The Giants, the NFC’s sixth seed, have rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger (2018-21), who started 11 games this season, ranking fifth on the squad with 30 receptions and 268 receiving yards. He tied for third with two receiving touchdowns and also rushed once for a 2-yard touchdown and caught a 2-point conversion.

On Sunday, Bellinger caught two passes for 17 yards and a touchdown as the Giants won their first playoff game in more than a decade. They will play the Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) next weekend.

The Vikings, the third seed, erased two deficits – 17-7 and 24-14 – but couldn’t come all the way back. ESPN, though, predicted that “absent a key interception or fourth-down stop … they will be vulnerable in the playoffs.”

Minnesota got an opening late, as Darius Slayton dropped a pass on third down, forcing the Giants to punt and giving the Vikings a chance with three minutes to play. They failed to take advantage though, and O’Connell’s team, though favored, was done.



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Ellen Bullock