Written by Rance Gardner
Coming off a tough loss that could have easily been a win in Kansas City, the Vikings had a huge NFC showdown in Dallas Sunday evening. This matchup could have major playoff implications as the season winds down. The Packers beat Carolina earlier in the day putting more pressure on Minnesota to perform well on the road in prime time. All eyes were on Vikings QB Kirk Cousins to see if he could lead the team to what feels like it's first big prime time win in years. Cousins did just that.
2 of the league's best rushing attacks faced off in Jerry's world with Dalvin Cook getting the better of Ezekiel Elliott. The Vikings offense has looked very impressive for the majority of the last 6 weeks. They struggled at times in week 9 but were still able to put together 4 scoring drives on the road in a tough environment. Heading into Sunday against Dallas with no Adam Thielen again Kirk needed to spread the ball around and was able to do it at key times all game. Kyle Rudolph was on the receiving end of some great passes by Cousins and made 2 of the best catches of his career in the end zone. Including one that will be in the Vikings highlight vault for years to come. Kirk Cousins did his best Patrick Mahomes impression with an across his body thrown jump pass to Rudy who made a spectacular one handed catch. Dallas said all week they were going to play the run and try to limit Dalvin Cook. That didn't go as planned considering Dalvin had a great game and finished with over 180 yards from scrimmage and a TD. Christian McCaffrey has been sensational this year but I would argue Dalvin is having a better season. Finally healthy, Cook looks like the NFL's premier back.
The Vikings defense has struggled against the pass this season and Dak Prescott was able to take advantage of that Sunday night. The Vikings 3rd down defense was poor against Dallas. Dak consistently converted 3rd and long all game. Mike Hughes was picked on a lot with Trae Waynes missing the game. Hughes made some good plays but also allowed too many 3rd down converting catches. The biggest positive from the Vikings defense was that they were able to get pressure on Dak at times and they completely shut down Zeke Elliott. Eric Kendricks made the play of the day on defense when he batted down a pass to Zeke late in the game on 4th down. The Vikings were missing 2 important starters on defense Linval Joseph and Trae Waynes but were still able to pull off the victory.
The Vikings are now 7-3 on the season with Denver coming to Minneapolis next Sunday for the Vikings final game before their bye week. Minnesota will have a chance to be 8-3 heading into the bye week and set themselves up for a playoff appearance with a couple more victories. Kirk Cousins finally won the statement game so many fans have wanted to see. Maybe now people will back off the guy a little bit. Kirk is a great QB and we are lucky to have him. Getting Thielen and Joseph healthy will be very important down the stretch for both the offense and defense. The Vikings are trending in the right direction and heading into December that's incredibly important. I for one love the way the offense has been looking, and cant wait to see what the rest of the season brings. SKOL