After he guided the Giants to two wins in his first couple of starts, Daniel Jones gets another challenge Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where New York faces the NFL's No. 6 defense -- the Minnesota Vikings.
While the rookie has impressed since he became the Giants' starter over 16th-year veteran Eli Manning, his first true test matches Jones up with an opposing Vikings unit that allowed an average of 312.8 yards and 15.8 points through four games.
Perhaps second-year Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, who came from Minnesota to New York after two seasons (2016-17) as the Vikings' tight ends coach and offensive coordinator, knows best of what Jones will see in Week 5.
"They have outstanding players everywhere," said Shurmur, whose 2017 team went 13-3 and won the NFC North behind a rejuvenated offense and stout defense. "When you start saying, 'OK, well, this is their best player. No, this guy is their best player.' All of the guys up front … they have two edge rushers. They have interior guys that can get push. They have linebackers that are Pro Bowlers. They have corners and they have safeties that have all been to Pro Bowls. They're well-coordinated and they put pressure on the passer and they do a good job of stopping the run. That's what you want from a defense."
The Vikings boast the No. 9 pass defense at 218.5 yards per game, led in the secondary by fifth-year safety Anthony Harris, who leads Minnesota with two interceptions.
"I think they are physical," Jones said of the Vikings' defensive backs. "It's an experienced group back there. They have some guys that have played together for a long time. As far as giving you different looks, they are good at that. Like I said, like anything, we'll have a plan for it. It's about what we do, it's about playing to our strengths. I think we'll do that."
Jones completed 46 of 67 passes (68.7 percent) for 561 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, adding nine rushes for 61 yards (6.8 average) and two touchdowns, en route to wins over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32-31, Sept. 21) and Washington Redskins (24-3, last Sunday) in Weeks 3 and 4.
Against the Redskins, Jones completed 23 of 31 passes (74.2 percent) for 225 yards and a touchdown, but threw two interceptions to Washington's defense -- which has struggled during its 0-4 start.
With the Vikings on deck and looking to get back over the .500 mark after a 2-2 month of September plagued by an underachieving offense, the Giants (2-2) see Jones taking each day in stride and embracing the tallest task to date.
"We've just got to play as a team," said third-year tight end Evan Engram, who has quickly become a top target for Jones with 10 receptions for 167 yards (16.7 average) and a touchdown in the past two games. "I think that's kind of his mindset, to find ways to get better and find ways to try to get as close to perfect as possible. That's kind of the mindset I've picked up from him -- he wants to be perfect. That's just kind of his work ethic and his standard. So I think we've just got to play together as a team, and I'm not looking at anybody's individual performance. I know my teammates, including him, are going to show up ready to compete and play football.