Daniel Jones #8 of the Giants rushes during the first...

Daniel Jones #8 of the Giants rushes during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 15, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Credit: Getty Images/Stephen Maturen

MINNEAPOLIS — The Giants earned their first postseason victory since the 2011 season on Sunday afternoon because they outplayed the Vikings, because they weathered the storm of tight end T.J. Hockenson and because they made the most critical plays at critical times.

That Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a 3-yard pass to Hockenson on fourth-and-8 from the Minnesota 48 with 1:51 left didn’t hurt the Giants’ chances. That was the Vikings’ last offensive play of the season, and three kneeldowns by Daniel Jones later, the Giants were winners.

Thanks to their 31-24 victory, the Giants have at least another game to play, at Philadelphia on Saturday night in the divisional round.

Saquon Barkley broke a 24-24 tie with a 2-yard touchdown run with 7:47 remaining. That capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 4:47. A critical 19-yard catch at the sideline by Isaiah Hodgins put the ball at the Vikings’ 26 to set up the TD.

“I think it was a great play call by our offensive coordinator [Mike Kafka],’’ Hodgins said. “He knew that we showed a lot of those crossers and a lot of those in-cuts. It was finally time to hit them with a little double move to go, and they fell for it. Daniel gave me a great ball. I don’t know if I had possession; I think I got my feet in.

“That’s just us playing ball right there. It means a lot. It makes me have more confidence, too. It means a lot to know that your quarterback, offensive coordinator and whole team has confidence in you.”

The Giants had a subsequent chance to clinch the victory, but on third-and-15 from their 41 with 3:03 remaining, Darius Slayton dropped a pass from Jones. If he had caught it, he likely would have picked up the first down.

“I took my eyes off it,” Slayton said. “It happens. Fortunately, I play on a team with a really good defense. It’s football. Every week there’s going to be someone who doesn’t help the team win. [Overall] it speaks to the strength of our team.”

The Vikings scored first on a 1-yard run by Cousins. The Giants answered with back-to-back touchdowns, a 28-yard run by Barkley and a 14-yard pass from Jones to Hodgins.

With 45 seconds to play in the second quarter, Cousins hit K.J. Osborn with a 9-yard touchdown pass to bring the Vikings within 17-14.

Jones found Daniel Bellinger for a 9-yard touchdown pass and a 24-14 lead with 11:37 left in the third quarter, but Cousins threw a 3-yard TD pass to Irv Smith and Greg Joseph kicked a 38-yard field goal with 12:34 remaining in the fourth quarter to tie it at 24.

Barkley said there was no doubt: “Because I know the type of team we have. We showed it all year, all season. The competitive spirit we have, the belief we have in each other is what’s needed in the playoffs.”

Jones was 24-for-35 for 301 yards and ran for 78 yards. Barkley ran for 53 yards on nine carries and Hodgins had eight catches for 105 yards.

Cousins was 31-for-39 for 273 yards. Hockenson, who scored two touchdowns against the Giants on Christmas Eve, caught 10 passes for 129 yards but was held without a TD this time. Justin Jefferson was limited to seven catches for 47 yards.

The night before the game, Giants center Jon Feliciano was watching football at the team hotel with teammates, including Barkley and Jones.

“A bunch of us always hang out the night before the game,” Feliciano said. “And I was messing with DJ when Trevor [Lawrence, the Jaguars’ quarterback] was throwing all those picks. I was like, ‘Don’t be scared now, DJ. At least you can go to bed knowing you won’t throw four picks. You won’t be the worst quarterback in the playoffs.’  ”

Jones’ response? “He was laughing, cutting up,’’ Feliciano said. “I’m so proud of him. It’s nice to win a playoff game. I’m super-proud to be part of this team.”

Feliciano laughed. He also had tears in his eyes.

In another part of the locker room, safety Xavier McKinney talked about his hand injury and how he felt as if he let the team down.

“It was a hard-fought game,” he said. “It was a long game, not perfect, but we got the job done.’’

The key? “We practiced a little harder, watched film a little harder,” he said. “It’s the playoffs. This is a team that is every bit a team. And it means a lot to these guys, not just to win in the playoffs, but to do so as such a cohesive unit.’’

During the game, when the Vikings were playing the Skol chant, Feliciano and Barkley were dancing with the crowd and encouraging it to be louder.

“We were just laughing, having a good time,” Barkley said. “We were so confident. We believe .  .  . We feel we’ve been playing well and that it would translate to the playoffs.”

It did, but it wasn’t easy.

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