This entire Vikings’ recap should probably just read, “The whole team played poorly. The coaching staff also made mistakes, and the Vikings lost horribly at home. But hey, we’re 8-2, so let’s move on!” For anyone who likes to over-analyze anyway, read on for more specifics on what went wrong!
TIME. OF. POSSESSION.
In many ways, the Cowboys got the “boring” victory that I had hoped the Vikings would achieve. They ran the ball effectively, to the tune of 151 yards, and dominated the time of possession with 37 minutes to the Vikings’ 22.
My colleague Eli also noted that the Cowboys were tremendous on third down. They went 12 for 17, and they were able to limit the Vikings’ offensive opportunities. The Cowboys proved how vital a quality rushing attack is, and the Vikings need to take note of this as we inch closer to the playoffs. Playoff teams need to run the ball effectively.
The Game Was Lost In The Trenches
Briefly mentioning the Cowboys’ rushing attack again, the Vikings were unable to muster up any sort of significant pressure in general. Dak Prescott was able to comfortably run his offense and was extremely efficient when he did throw the ball, ending the day with a clean 88% completion percentage. Our team, like most teams, needs to get to the quarterback in order to be successful.
Conversely, the Cowboys’ defense spent all afternoon in the Vikings’ backfield. Kirk Cousins was sacked seven times and was hit on 13 occasions. Kirk, at times, can definitely be one to hold onto the ball too long, but on Sunday it would not have mattered. He was given little-to-no time to throw. The absence of Christian Darrisaw was felt strongly, as were plenty of rookie mistakes made by Ed Ingram.
The Vikings Were A Step Behind
In addition to the myriad of execution issues the Vikings had on the day, they also seemed to be simply slower than the Cowboys’ players. On the offensive side of the ball, Tony Pollard was always gaining the extra yard or extra step on Vikings defenders. But the real speed was from their defensive stars. The Cowboys have some top-tier defenders, not the least of whom is second-year standout, Micah Parsons.
Parsons was all over the place on Sunday and now is alone in second place in the league with 10 sacks. He led a defense that was much more tenacious than the Vikings were on offense. It’s no secret that the Cowboys have an elite defense, but it was the way they simply looked faster than the Vikings’ offensive players that was the most alarming to see.
Vikings Players Who Need To Have Short Memories
While the entire game is forgettable, there are a few Vikings players who will most benefit from getting right back into action on Thanksgiving night.
- Andrew Booth, Jr. – This was hopefully a big learning opportunity for the rookie CB. He was active all game and finished with nine tackles, but this was in part due to how much the Cowboys were targeting him. In addition to playing too cautiously with the space he allotted the Dallas receivers, he got burned badly by Noah Brown on a double move. I think Booth will be just fine, but this week will be a big test for his NFL mentality going forward.
- Blake Brandel – The Vikings will (and should) play it safe with starting tackle Christian Darrisaw. This could mean more game action for Brandel, who struggled mightily against Dallas. He will need a big rebound game.
- Vikings’ interior defensive line – I apologize for not being more specific, but there were a lot of guys who rotated in, and it didn’t matter. The Cowboys always seemed to get a push and were always moving forward. Dalvin Tomlinson’s absence has been an issue, so let’s hope he’s back soon.
No Positive Momentum Swings
The Vikings have been elite this season at closing out the second and fourth quarters, but this did not happen in the game against the Cowboys. After the Cowboys took a 20 – 3 lead, the Vikings’ ineptitudes on offense, in conjunction with the timeouts they used to try and score, allowed the Cowboys to have one more drive.
We could argue that CeeDee Lamb didn’t make that catch, but regardless, the Cowboys had enough time to get into field goal range, and Brett Maher hit a 60-yarder. The significant swing here was basically a bonus three points for Dallas, knowing that they also would get the ball to start the second half. Instead of closing the gap with a field goal of their own, the Vikings couldn’t even stop the bleeding of momentum.
Were There Any Positives In Week 11?
No, not really. But I’m in the business of being positive about an 8-2 team, so I can find bright spots anywhere! There are three that I can think of, and honestly, I know these are stretches. They are also all special teams related. I’m simply trying to send positive vibes to the guys as they head into a big Thanksgiving matchup with the Patriots.
- Greg Joseph was perfect! He only had one kick attempt, but at least he made it. He would have made more, but I started him in fantasy, so naturally, he was a non-factor.
- Ryan Wright had four of his seven punts land inside the 20. If you listen to the latest episode of The Daily Skol Podcast, I’m officially on the Wright train to a Pro Bowl selection, so I was glad to see him add to his stats a bit.
- Andrew DePaola had a tackle. If you didn’t know, he’s our long snapper, and I loved watching him fly down the field to make a play, even though it was a rather insignificant play.
See? These were stretches.
Final Thoughts (How I’m Coping With The Loss And Moving On)
It’s just one loss. Honestly, I keep telling myself not to panic. If we come out flat against New England, then I may start to worry. For now, I will look big picture. We are 8-2, with a huge division lead. Further, I think it was good for our guys to have a game where very little went right.
This can be a coachable moment for the team to remind themselves that nothing has been won yet. The prize is still weeks away, and we can’t afford to let up. Last, I can’t believe we’ll have another game this bad, with so many mistakes on all sides of the ball. Everyone should be laser-focused in practice this week to improve, and I think the Vikings will rebound on Thanksgiving. Stay on The Daily Skol for more Vikings content throughout the holiday week, and let’s put this ugly loss behind us! SKOL!