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"We always talk about improvement and how important improvement is. That's the way to improve right there, under game conditions," coach Tom Coughlin said.
Jackson threw his first interception in 13 quarters since taking over for Gus Frerotte, a zinger into the end zone that James Butler grabbed and returned to near midfield. John Carney's fourth field goal stretched the lead to 19-10 early in the fourth, but his fifth attempt from 48 yards was wide right with 3:17 left.
The Vikings then crawled through a frantic, unorganized final drive and got just close enough for Longwell to kick the winner.
"I think this game's going to build character and give us something to reflect back on," defensive end Jared Allen said.
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo ordered a bevy of blitzes and kept Jackson from finding any room to run or get comfortable in the pocket. Adrian Peterson fumbled for the sixth time this month, but he made amends later in the first quarter with a 67-yard touchdown run that put the Vikings up 10-0.
Peterson finished with 103 yards on 21 carries and held off Atlanta's Michael Turner for the NFL rushing title. He also became the fifth player in league history to reach 3,000 yards in his first two years, joining Eric Dickerson (Rams), Edgerrin James (Colts), Earl Campbell (Oilers) and Clinton Portis (Broncos).
The victory, of course, was what he really wanted. He proudly put on a gray cap commemorating the division title as he left the interview room.
"It was rocky," Peterson said, "but we continued to fight.
Notes: The Vikings gave up 135 yards rushing, hurting their chance to finish first in the league in run defense for the third straight season. ... Carr finished 8-for-11 for 110 yards and no turnovers. ... Vikings DE Ray Edwards hurt his left knee and will have an MRI on Monday.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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