Feel Weird for Vikings to Have a Home Game This Week? It Should.
The Minnesota Vikings have been off for a week due to a scheduled bye, a preplanned vacation occurring annually.
But does anything feel odd about the upcoming game this weekend versus the Dallas Cowboys? It should.
The Vikings will play their first home game after a bye week for the first time since 2015. That’s six years. In every season since 2015, Minnesota has hit the road after a bye.
In 2016, the Vikings trekked to a rookie Carson Wentz-led Philadelphia venue – and lost, signaling doom for the remainder of the season. During the 2017 season, Minnesota traveled to Washington and downed the Kirk Cousins-led Washington Football Team. The year after that, the Vikings lost because of a lifeless performance at the Chicago Bears. Then, in 2019, Minnesota lost in Seattle, an annual tradition at that point. And then in 2020, Dalvin Cook and the Vikings gashed the Green Bay Packers in a win on a windy Sunday while Mike Zimmer’s team owned a 1-5 win-loss record.
The theme? Road games, road games, and more road games after a bye.
The 2021 season changes that. Finally – Minnesota will come back to Minneapolis for home cooking after a bye week. It’s about damn time.
The Cowboys are a formidable opponent, showcasing a 5-1 record and finishing a bye week themselves. Quarterback Dak Prescott has been generally healthy – although he’s currently battling a calf malady – and Dallas’ defense hasn’t looked foolish as it did in 2020.
Meanwhile, the rest of the NFC East teams are 2-5 – like, all of them. Therefore, barring long-term injury to Prescott, the Cowboys nearly have the NFC East already in the bag.
With Andy Dalton at the helm last season, Dallas nipped the Vikings 31-28 at U.S. Bank Stadium inside a stadium with no fans. Before that, the Vikings toppled the Cowboys in Dallas during a primetime showdown, which turned out to be a galvanizing moment for Minnesota in the 2019 season.
Too, during the first season at U.S. Bank Stadium, 2016, the Vikings lost a suspenseful contest to the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. That was the season when Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot erupted out of the NFL draft, declaring Dallas a force to be reckoned with.
On the whole, the Vikings play wonderfully at U.S. Bank Stadium with fans in attendance. Indeed, they let a stinker fly versus the Cleveland Browns a few weeks ago, but Zimmer’s bunch will hope to continue overall home dominance at “The Bank.”
The Cowboys are favored by three points to defeat the Vikings on the road this Sunday.
Although, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco is predicting a Vikings “upset.” He noted in his weekly column:
“Both teams are coming off a bye, so they will be rested. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott needed the rest with his injured calf, so he should be good to go. The Vikings have played solid football the past two games, but this is a big step up in competition. Look for a lot of points in this one, but I will go with a home-team upset.“