Vikings Lose Back and Forth Game to Dallas, Downed 31-28
The Minnesota Vikings looked like they walked into their Week 11 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys with another win in the column before the game started. However, the Dallas Cowboys were able to escape U.S. Bank Stadium with a critical win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and to put the Vikings playoff hope down a few pegs. Offensively, besides the two fumbles committed by Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook, the Vikings seemed to play a very impressive offensive game, even though it was against one of the worse defensives in the NFL.
Kirk Cousins did look the best he has all year though, throwing for 314 yards and finding the promised land on three different occasions. Those three occasions included two to Adam Thielen, who also racked in 123 receiving yards, and one to Justin Jefferson, who added another 86 receiving yards to his rookie campaign. Dalvin Cook also had a very good game on the ground, running for 115 yards on 26 carries and reaching the end zone once. He also added five receptions for 45 yards. The Vikings problem during this game, however, was their Special Team play, which has been abysmal all season long.
According to "The Athletics" Chad Graff, the Dallas Cowboys returned three punts yesterday, all by Ceedee Lamb, for 48 yards. The Vikings have 13 punt return yards all season long. To say the Vikings 4-6 record is because of their young defense and inconsistent offense, is a major understatement. Marwan Maalouf, who is in his second year at the helm of the Vikings Special Teams division, has seen his squad give up the fourth most punt return yards (244) and is dead last in the NFL with only 13 offensive punt return yards all season long. The Vikings need to quickly figure this problem out, or it could be detrimental to the team going further.
On the flip side of the coin, the Cowboys had everything going for them offensively. Andy Dalton easily played his best game as a Cowboy this past Sunday, throwing for 203 yards and reaching the end zone three times. He also received a tremendous amount of help on the ground from Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, who combined for 163 yards on 26 carries. Pollard also did find the end zone on a 42-yard run in the fourth quarter. Ceedee Lamb, Dalton Schultz and Ezekiel Elliott all scored as well to help give the Cowboys the victory.
In a game that was must win for both teams heading down the stretch, there was a total of seven lead changes and 29 total points scored in the final frame. The Cowboys would come away with the victory and actually won their first game on the road this past Sunday, while the Vikings fell to 1-4 in Minnesota on the campaign. With the win, the Cowboys are now in a three-way tie with the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team for second place in the NFC East, all with a 2-7 record. With the loss, the Vikings fall to 4-6, and with a Detroit Lions, still hold the tiebreaker within the two teams for third place in the NFC North.
The Vikings will look to start a new winning streak as they host the Carolina Panthers this Sunday at 12:00pm CST/1:00pm EST.