Coming into today’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Vikings were riding high at 8-1. They had just come off of a very emotional overtime win at the Buffalo Bills, and had seemed to solidify themselves as Super Bowl contenders. Despite being 1.5-point home underdogs to the Cowboys, the Vikings seemed ready to hand Dallas a reality check and let them know how great of a team that they were.
Unfortunately, it was the Vikings themselves that got handed a reality check in the form of a 40-3 loss. Tony Pollard ate Ed Donatell’s defense alive with 189 yards from scrimmage and two receiving touchdowns, while the Micah Parsons-led Cowboy defense had seven sacks and a fumble recovery. It didn’t help that star left tackle Christian Darrisaw left the game early with his second concussion as in many weeks, but that’s no excuse for how the team played today.
When the Vikings were initially seen as home underdogs, it was confusing at first. However, after today, it makes sense why they were seen as such.
This Game Had Vikings Loss Written All Over It
The Vikings’ win over the Bills last week was the biggest this franchise has had in a very long time. That win was very emotional for many within the organization, and that may have turned out to become a bad thing.
The Vikings are a team that historically doesn’t do well off big, emotional wins. The week after beating the Saints during the Minneapolis Miracle playoff game, the Vikings got the doors blown off them in the 2017 NFC Championship, a game that saw the team get blown out 38-7 by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Many of the old-timer Viking fans remember another miracle win by the franchise, a game against the Browns called Miracle at the Met. A week after the Vikings won that aforementioned game on a walk off Ahmad Rashad Hail Mary touchdown, the Vikings lost to the Houston Oilers and then dropped their first playoff game to the Eagles.
I could name many other examples, but those two losses should get the point across.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, entered the game having just been humiliated on the road by a sub-.500 Packer team, squandering away a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and losing in overtime. This is a good Cowboy team that needed to take their anger out on someone. Unfortunately, that someone was the Vikings today.
When good teams meet, and one is coming off of a highly emotional win while the other is coming off of a highly emotional loss, the one coming off the loss wins. That’s why I believe that this game had Vikings loss written all over it.
Good News Ahead?
Despite the big loss today, the Vikings should see some light at the end of the tunnel. Why is that? Because the Patriots are coming to town for a Thanksgiving Night game, and a role reversal will be taking place.
The 6-4 Patriots will be coming to town off a highly emotional win, just like the Vikings were today. They played a home game against the rival New York Jets today that saw them win by virtue of a walk-off punt return touchdown.
The Vikings, meanwhile, will be in the Cowboys’ position. They are a good team that just got humiliated at home. This was the second-largest home loss in Vikings franchise history (trailing only a 42-point home loss to the Cardinals in 1964), and they are looking for a rebound. Like the Cowboys, they need someone to take their anger out on. Will that someone be the Patriots? Possibly.
The defense allowed the Cowboys to convert 12 out of 17 third down attempts, gain 458 total yards of offense, rack up 6.5 yards per play, and let them have the ball for nearly 38 minutes. I’m not sure that will happen against the Patriots next week. Yes, the Vikings defense has been underperforming this year, but they can’t possibly be that bad again.
Next week will definitely be a challenge for the Vikings, especially with the team being without the services of Darrisaw against star Patriot pass rusher Matt Judon. However, it is a home game, and the Patriots can’t generate the offensive production the Vikings can on their best days. Plus, Kevin O’Connell is a former player who played under Belichick at the start of his career. Belichick’s former players as coaches and his assistants historically have great success against him, so maybe the Vikings can get the win.
The Vikings lost today and should have been expected to lose. Hopefully the team takes their reality check in stride, and can bounce back nicely on Thanksgiving. This loss isn’t the end of the season by any means for the Vikings, it is just a slice of humble pie that needed to be given to the team.