New York Giants: Diehl, Smith Should Return To Strengthen Team Against Vikings

Mike OsterbergCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2010

The Giants are looking for Steve Smith to come back this week and bolster their receiving corps
The Giants are looking for Steve Smith to come back this week and bolster their receiving corpsNick Laham/Getty Images

The New York Giants have won two in a row against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Washington Redskins as they beat up on lesser teams in home matchups. 

This week, they'll look to keep the ball rolling as they go on the road to play the Minnesota Vikings, led by their interim coach Leslie Frazier. 

The Vikings have looked like a different team under Frazier and they'll no doubt put up a fight for their newly chosen leader. 

Luckily for the Giants, they should have some stars returning this week that would serve to spoil Frazier's second home game as head coach. 

David Diehl, the Pro-Bowl left tackle that hasn't played since the Giants' Week 7 win at Dallas, has been practicing more this week and he says that he will be in the lineup come Sunday. While guys like Shawn Andrews and, more recently Will Beatty, have filled in admirably, it's tough to replace a force like Diehl. 

The 2010 Pro-Bowler has been a stalwart of the Giants offensive line since his rookie year in 2003; he's as a good a left tackle as there is in the game today and even though Eli hasn't been sacked in the last five games, he will welcome back big No. 66 with open arms. 

The Giants are also likely to welcome back Steve Smith, their most reliable wide receiver. 

Smith has been Eli's favorite target the past two years and having him back will lighten the load on Mario Manningham. 

Smith has seen less receptions with this emergence of Hakeem Nicks this season, but his importance to the offense cannot be understated. He's a first down machine and a great possession receiver, the perfect complement to the explosiveness of Nicks. 

Hakeem Nicks, Shaun O'Hara and Shawn Andrews are likely to miss yet another game, but there is a slight chance that one or all of them could see the field. 

In any case, the Giants' injury woes will soon be behind them, and not a moment too soon.

After this week, they welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to town and you can bet that Tom Coughlin will want to challenge them with his full starting roster intact. 

Mike Osterberg is a student at Penn State University and Featured Columnist for the New York Giants. Follow him on twitter @Mike_Osterberg.