After losing a nail-biter to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Minnesota Vikings are getting ready to face “America’s team,” the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s everything you need to know for this marquee matchup.
Cowboys will be facing a different animal
It seems like yesterday, but in actuality, the last time Dallas played the Vikings was week 13 of 2016. That was the year Mike Zimmer nearly lost an eye to a laminated play card turned projectile, and he had to miss the Dallas game due to eye surgery. With Zimmer MIA, the Cowboys faced a Vikings team led by former special teams coordinator Mike Priefer. The assistant coach did an admirable job running the show, but his team ultimately came up short and lost 15-17.
Besides the coaching, the Vikings also had much different personnel on the 2016 squad. The defense still had guys like Chad Greenway, Terence Newman, Brian Robison, and Captain Munnerlyn. The offense was only just experiencing the emergence of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and they were still being led by quarterback Sam Bradford. It’s amazing how much a team can change in three years, and fans should be excited to see what this squad can do down South.
Two teams in similar standing
With the Vikings sitting at 6-3 and the Cowboys at 5-2, both teams have a good, but not guaranteed chance of making the playoffs. There’s still nearly half a season to be played, but analysts agree that this NFC matchup will be important for playoff positioning, whereas the Vikings’ AFC clash with the Chiefs last week wasn’t as significant.
Back in 2016, the Vikings had the luxury of playing the Cowboys at home. This time around, they will be forced to take on America’s team in Dallas, which is just as rowdy as last week’s venue of Arrowhead Stadium. Given its proximity to Minnesota, the Vikings were lucky to see a decent pilgrimage of fans to Kansas City. Hats off to those supporters, as they even started a Skol chant in the midst of the battle.
This Sunday, however, there probably won’t be much purple in the stands. The volume will also be turned up, as it’s an indoor matchup that will be nationally televised on Sunday Night Football. Fortunately, the Vikings were only a score away from victory against the powerhouse that is Kansas City, and they’re more than ready to storm AT&T Stadium. Even though it’s only week 10, this will have the feel of a playoff game.
No Thielen, time for others to step up
Adam Thielen has been working hard to get back on the field after suffering a hamstring injury against the Lions. Unfortunately, he managed only a few reps before taking himself out of the game last Sunday, as he felt he would re-aggravate his injury. It looks like he’ll be absent against Dallas, and Kirk Cousins will once again rely on backups like Laquon Treadwell and Olabisi Johnson to pick up the slack.
Surprisingly, Treadwell looked excellent when he was given opportunities last week, and fans are hoping he keeps the ball rolling against the Cowboys. Bisi Johnson also picked up his second touchdown of the year, and the Vikings may see the return of Josh Doctson too. He’s been on injured reserve since signing with the Vikings, but it’ll be exciting to see what he brings to the table.