The New York Giants are getting healthy just in time for their first postseason game in six years. The Giants are expected to get back critical pieces of their defense ahead of Sunday’s Wild Card matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. The Thursday injury report indicated that many players are progressing toward playing on Sunday, including cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. But a new addition to the injury report along the offensive line has created some cause for concern.
Giants injury update ahead of Wild Card round
Adoree’ Jackson making progress
The Giants have been without starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson since he suffered a knee injury in Week 11 while returning a punt. Jackson, the team’s top coverage man, has been a massive loss for the defense. It seems like the Giants could be getting Adoree’ Jackson back just in time for the postseason. Head coach Brian Daboll said, “I think [Adoree’] made progress here the last couple weeks in practice. And hopefully he’ll continue to do that this week.”
Adoree’ Jackson will be essential to the Giants’ defense this weekend as they gameplan to slow down league-leading receiver Justin Jefferson. In Big Blue’s Week 16 loss to the Vikings, the Giants struggled to contain Jefferson without Jackson on the field. Jefferson totaled 12 receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown against the Giants’ decimated secondary. Having Jackson in the lineup will go a long way toward slowing down the NFL’s leader in receiver yards.
Evan Neal added to the injury report
New York Giants right tackle Evan Neal has had a rookie season to forget. Neal entered the NFL with high expectations as the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. But in year one, the NFL has not been kind to Evan Neal. Now, to make matters worse, Evan Neal was added to the injury report as a limited participant ahead of the postseason with an ankle injury. The injury, thankfully, is considered to be minor.
Having a struggling right tackle hobbled by an injury before facing Pro Bowl pass-rusher Danielle Hunter in the postseason is a recipe for disaster. In the Giants’ last matchup with the Vikings, Danielle Hunter got the best of Evan Neal, posting nine total pressures and two sacks in the matchup.
Other key defensive pieces trending in the right direction
The Giants have a few other defensive players that are dealing with injuries but trending in the right direction for Sunday’s game. LB Azeez Ojulari, DL Leonard Williams, and DB Jason Pinnock were limited participants during Thursday’s practice, but all seem likely to suit up against the Vikings.
Azeez Ojulari told reporters he is feeling “way better” on Thursday. Ojulari is dealing with an ankle injury that has sidelined him since Week 16. He suffered the injury during the Giants’ first matchup with the Vikings. Prior to the injury, however, Ojulari already totaled one sack and two tackles on just 22 snaps. The Giants will want Azeez out there to finish business against the Vikings in the postseason.
Leonard Williams will undoubtedly play this weekend, but he will still be feeling the effects of his injury. Williams described his neck injury acting up as “inevitable.” He will likely wear a neck brace on Sunday, but after getting some rest in Week 18, Leonard Williams will be good to go on Sunday.
Defensive back Jason Pinnock is out of the red non-contact jersey and making considerable progress toward playing on Sunday. Pinnock has been a versatile piece in the Giants’ thin secondary and will be needed out there to match up against Pro Bowl tight end TJ Hockenson.
The New York Giants may have some players going into this game a bit banged up, but they are playing through the pain for the postseason. The Giants are healthier than they have been all season long, just in time to play their first playoff game since 2017.