The Dallas Cowboys squeaked past the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday 17-15, showcasing the fact this team has mental toughness.
The Dallas Cowboys traveled into Minnesota for the first time since the 2010 season for their first meeting with the Vikings in the brand new US Bank Stadium. Both teams were playing their fourth games in 18 days, and it showed with sloppy play from both sidelines; but ultimately the Cowboys made some timely plays off of some key Vikings errors to win 17-15. The Cowboys leave Minnesota with their 11th consecutive victory, the most in franchise history.
The biggest story heading into the game was whether or not the Cowboys could continue their historic winning streak against a Vikings team heading in the opposite direction after their own hot start. Minnesota has been missing key pieces all along their offense, but Thursday night they were without their leader; with head coach Mike Zimmer missing the game after an emergency eye surgery on Wednesday night.
The game the Cowboys put together was the definition of “winning ugly.” The usual stars didn’t play poorly, but they were far from their dominant selves. Quarterback Dak Prescott didn’t make many rookie mistakes, but he didn’t manage to throw for more than 150 yards for the first time in his young career.
Star running back Ezekiel Elliott was held under 90 yards rushing for the first time since Week Two. While the numbers weren’t there, the team proved it’s more than just a couple rookie playmakers, with the defense stepping up to take advantage of a wounded Vikings offense.
The biggest evolution the Cowboys have shown all season was the scrambling ability of Dak Prescott. While Prescott has been mobile all year, he did a great job not forcing the ball into coverage and taking the yards the defense left him on the ground.
We haven’t seen any type of rushing game like this from a Cowboys quarterback in awhile, with Dak racking up 37 yards on 6 carries, including a beautiful scramble while trying to run the clock out, despite sliding a yard too early. A lot of this can be attributed to the Vikings’ tremendous secondary, but Dak showed Thursday night that he has the poise to avoid mistakes that plague many rookie signal-callers.
Looking ahead, the Cowboys will get some much-needed rest, as they don’t play again until December 11th, when they look to avenge their only loss of the 2016 campaign. They travel to Metlife Stadium to take on the New York Giants, a team that has prevented the Cowboys from getting any breathing room in the NFC East. However, should they go into New York and put away the Giants, they’ll clinch the division crown with three games left in the season.
This was one of the more impressive wins these young Cowboys have had this season. The Vikings defense gave them one of the toughest outings they’ve had in a long time, and the way the Cowboys responded should inspire confidence in fans, This game has shown the team has the mental toughness to shake off a rocky game to make key plays toward the end and win the game.