To start the second half of football at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings got to receive the kickoff from the Dallas Cowboys, trailing 7-3. Dan Bailey’s kickoff went short to Matt Asiata, and after a penalty on the Vikings the offense started at their own 8-yard line. Sam Bradford quickly shrugged off the injury he suffered at the end of the first half, connecting with Charles Johnson on a pass for 25 yards to the Minnesota 33-yard line. After two touches by Jerick McKinnon, Sam Bradford scrambled. . .yes, scrambled. . .for a 10-yard gain on third down to keep the drive moving to near midfield.
Cordarrelle Patterson then took a handoff into Dallas territory, and another completion to Charles Johnson netted another first down. That meant it was about the right time for the Vikings’ offense to stall, as a mishandled snap by Bradford put the Vikings behind the 8-ball, and Bradford missed Laquon Treadwell on a long attempt on third down. Jeff Locke came on to punt for the first time in the second half, and after a couple of awful punts to end the first half, Locke did a much better job this time, pinning the Cowboys down at their own 9-yard line.
Dallas got things going quickly, with a 6-yard run from Ezekiel Elliott and a 13-yard pass from Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant netting them a first down. A clipping penalty on Gavin Escobar pushed the Cowboys into a 1st-and-24 situation, and a great play by Xavier Rhodes on a pass to Terrence Williams resulted in a five-yard loss to make it 3rd-and-29. Dallas did not convert, and brought on Chris Jones for his first punt of the second half. Jones’ punt was downed at the 33-yard line, setting up Minnesota for their second drive of the quarter.
Minnesota got a first down to start their drive on a pass from Bradford to Stefon Diggs, and they then got to the dreaded 3rd-and-1 situation in Dallas territory at the 46. The Vikings converted, though, as Bradford found Kyle Rudolph for an 8-yard gain to keep the drive going. Matt Asiata then blasted ahead for a 14-yard run to get the Vikings down to the Dallas 24-yard line. A completion to Adam Thielen brought up 3rd-and-4 at the 18, and Rudolph could not come down with a pass in the end zone that would have given the Vikings the lead. Minnesota brought in Kai Forbath for a 36-yard field goal attempt, and he was good once again to cut the lead to 7-6 with just over two minutes left in the quarter.
Forbath’s kickoff went through the end zone for a touchback, giving Dallas the ball on their own 25 to start the next possession. They picked up a first down on a scramble by Prescott and a carry by Elliott to get to the 35. Another penalty on Gavin Escobar, this one for holding, pushed the Cowboys back again, and then Prescott got strip-sacked by Brian Robison, with Everson Griffen recovering the fumble at the Dallas 19-yard line!
A false start by T.J. Clemmings. . .sigh. . .pushed the Vikings into 1st-and-15 at the 24, and as we move to the second quarter of play, the Vikings are looking at 2nd-and-10 from the Dallas 19 after a 5-yard run by Asiata.
Fifteen minutes of football left at U.S. Bank Stadium, folks, and the Vikings trail the Cowboys by one point, 7-6. Can the Vikings come back and get their seventh victory of the season?