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Giants’ Isaiah Hodgins proves he’s Daniel Jones’ go-to receiver

MINNEAPOLIS — Isaiah Hodgins has reached the point where he can let his play do the talking.

For the second time in 22 days, the no-longer unknown receiver got the best of future Hall of Fame cornerback Patrick Peterson and the rest of the Vikings’ secondary Sunday in a 31-24 playoff victory. This time, he did it with the rest of the league watching and without an excessive amount of jawing back and forth with Peterson after each play.

If there was any debate about who is quarterback Daniel Jones’ go-to receiver in these high-pressure games, it’s quiet now that Hodgins totaled eight catches for 105 yards in his playoff debut despite injuring his ankle during Saturday’s walkthrough. He scored a touchdown for the fifth time in six games (sixth in seven if not for a penalty on the play).

“It’s easy to look at me, but it’s really a team thing,” Hodgins said. “I went into this game a little beat up, but I was still able to execute. That’s a credit to Daniel and the coaching staff putting me in the right positions to do what I do.”

Hodgins beat Peterson on a slant for a 14-yard touchdown late in the first quarter as the Giants scored touchdowns on their two first two possessions of a game for the first time this season. He chucked the ball into the padding against the end-zone wall in celebration.

Isaiah Hodgins scores during the Giants' win over the Vikings on Jan. 15.
Isaiah Hodgins scores during the Giants’ win over the Vikings on Jan. 15.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST
Isaiah Hodgins
Isaiah Hodgins has emerged as Daniel Jones’ favorite target.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

In a span of two plays on the first drive of the third quarter, Hodgins made a 10-yard catch to set up a manageable third down, and broke loose for a 32-yard catch after Saquon Barkley moved the chains. Just like that, the Giants were in the red zone, about to add another touchdown.

The Giants will play at least once more before the offseason, but Hodgins’ rapid ascension since he was added off waivers from the Bills on Nov. 2 has relieved some pressure to tweak the receiving corps. Maybe the future No. 1 receiver already is in the facility.

“I wasn’t, to be honest with you, very familiar with him before he got here, but he’s a good player,” fellow receiver Darius Slayton said. “That’s all he’s shown since he’s been here. He’s consistent, steady, and that’s what I expect out of him.”

When Hodgins wasn’t catching passes, he was drawing penalties. Twice on the Giants’ go-ahead touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter Hodgins was held off the line of scrimmage to draw a first down by penalty on what looked like an incompletion.

“[My ankle] got a little stiff toward the end,” Hodgins said, “but when adrenaline kicks in, you just keep playing.”

NFL playoff bracket
NY Post Illustration

The trash-talking between Hodgins and Peterson was a highlight of the teams’ regular-season meeting on Christmas Eve. Hodgins proved himself with eight catches for 89 yards and a touchdown that day, but Peterson counterpunched with an interception at the 18-yard line to halt a potential tying drive. Peterson offered no such response this time.

In the days leading up to the rematch, Hodgins said his personal goal was to earn Peterson’s respect if he had not already.

“I tried to keep a humble approach throughout the game,” Hodgins said. “Just had to go out there and finish no matter how we started, and I think we did that well today.”

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