Cowboys vs. Vikings Week 8: History, player to watch, gut prediction
By Riley Donald
Welcome back! After a way too long bye week, the Dallas Cowboys are rested, healed up some bumps and bruises, and look to continue their five-game winning streak as they head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys get their chance to go on the road and show the national audience what they are made of heading into a tough environment against a team who I believe is a little better than their record states.
The Vikings come into Sunday night on a two-game win streak to get themselves back to .500 on the year. While they are 3-3, their wins are against the 2-5 Seahawks, the 0-7 Lions, and the rapidly deteriorating 3-4 Panthers in overtime. Their losses speak more to me, though, and might be more impressive than their wins. They lost to the Bengals in overtime, fell to the undefeated Cardinals by one, and lost to the Browns by a score.
This Vikings team is a little bit confusing to me with having what seems to be a tendency to play up, or down, to their opponent’s level. Without further ado, what do you say we dive right in? Bringing you guys some matchup history, a look at going on the road, a trio of players to watch, and then hope to stay hot and send us off with another gut prediction that comes to fruition.
Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota Vikings History
All-Time Record: 17-15 in favor of the Cowboys (4-3 postseason record in favor of the Cowboys)
Most Recent Result: Dallas 31, Minnesota 28 on November 22, 2020
For a non-NFC East opponent, the Cowboys have run into the Vikings a little bit more than one would think at first glance. Since 2016, this will be the fourth matchup of the teams. This matchup is pretty even and for the last 10 seasons, neither side has reeled off more than two consecutive victories. It does go back a ways though, as the Cowboys and Vikings date back to 1961 when the Cowboys kicked off this inter-conference game by handily beating the Vikings twice in a three-week period.
What better place to start with the history of this matchup than the Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson Hail Mary? It was the playoffs in 1975 and the Cowboys were down 14-10 with less than a minute to go to the 12-2 Vikings. In a moment of desperation, Roger Staubach heaved a 50-yard toss being fueled by a hope and a prayer. On the receiving end of that pass was Drew Pearson coming down with the pass to score a touchdown and forever etch “Hail Mary” into football lore forever.
It wasn’t a push-off and I won’t stand for any slander saying otherwise. Drew Pearson is the original 88 for the Cowboys and this was a huge chapter in his, LONG AWAITED AND VERY OVERDUE, Hall of Fame career.
The Vikings have had a doozy of a time in postseason play. They lead the league in the most playoff appearances, division titles, conference championship appearances, and are tied with the Bills for most Super Bowl appearances all without winning a title. They also hold the crown of most playoff losses of any team in the NFL.
Last year saw the Cowboys, led by quarterback Andy Dalton, go into Minnesota and pull off a bit of a shocker. Dalton tossed three scores, Zeke and Pollard combined for 163 on the ground, and the defense forced three fumbles. Sounds a bit like we got a sneak peek at the 2021 team without knowing it.
The Vikings are led by Kirk Cousins who has been quietly putting up a solid year. He has himself in the top-13 of yards, completion percentage, and touchdowns, while only throwing two interceptions. In other words, he isn’t losing the Vikings games. Dalvin Cook has only played in four games but when playing, he’s averaging nearly 92 yards on the ground.
The Vikings are middle of the pack or worse defensively in total yards allowed, passing yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, and points per game given up. They don’t necessarily stand out anywhere, but they also don’t have any glaring weaknesses. They are a team that won’t often give the game away, but a solid performance can handle them.