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Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings: First Quarter Open Thread

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
DALLAS COWBOYS (10-1) WK 13 MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-5)

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Date: 1 December 2016
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Time: 7:25 PM Central Stadium: U.S. BANK STADIUM~!
TV: NBC (KARE-11)
NFL Network
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 225
Sirius Ch 81
TV Announcers: Al Michaels
Cris Collinsworth
Know Thy Foe: Blogging The Boys
Weather: Indoors, because the game is at U.S. BANK STADIUM~!
Line: Dallas -4, Over/Under 44 (Thanks to the SB Nation Odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Cowboys 24, Vikings 20
Final Score:


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For the second consecutive Thursday, we have Minnesota Vikings football on our television screens. Or our radios or our computers or tablets or whatever. Tonight, the Vikings have a tough task ahead of them, as they line it up against the team that currently possesses the best record in the National Football League, the Dallas Cowboys.

The Vikings have dropped five of their last six games and are on the verge of losing the season. What can they do to stop the bleeding and pull what would have to be considered a significant upset?

1) Slow down Ezekiel Elliott - With all due respect to fellow rookie Dak Prescott, the key to slowing down the Dallas offense is going to be keeping his backfield mate under wraps as best they can. If the Vikings can keep Elliott at least a little bit contained, it would give them more opportunities to bring pressure on Prescott and attempt to disrupt him a bit. If Elliott is running wild out there, it's going to open up a lot of other things for the Dallas offense. It's going to be a tall order, given the quality of the Dallas offensive line, but it's a task the Vikings have to be up to if they want to win this evening.

2) At least try to open up the offense - The Vikings' offensive line fluctuates between being bad and being atrocious. We've seen that over the course of the first 11 games. But, as we saw in the Detroit game last week, a barrage of three-yard passes generally isn't going to get the job done and leaves you very little margin for error. While the Cowboys have been a juggernaut offensively, their defense hasn't been on quite the same level, and they're dealing with some injury issues in the secondary. Stefon Diggs is back for this one, too, and that could open up a few more opportunities.

3) Win one for the Zimmer - The Vikings are without their leader this evening, as special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will step into the breach in place of Mike Zimmer, who is sitting this one out after emergency eye surgery. Zimmer was around all week to help install the game plan for this one, and the players know what they need to do in order to get the job done. The Minnesota players would seemingly run through a brick wall for their leader, and his absence tonight might give them a little bit of added motivation to pull out a W this evening.

We are less than an hour away from kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium, ladies and gentlemen. I know it's tough to feel any sort of optimism or enthusiasm about this one, but that's what we're here for. Hopefully we can all get a pleasant surprise this evening.

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!