Everything was trending the Minnesota Vikings’ way going into their game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys would be without their starting quarterback and the Vikings were coming off of a bye week in front of what promised to be a raucous home crowd.
But, this is Vikings football.
The Cowboys, behind Cooper Rush. . .who had not thrown a pass in the NFL since 2017. . .did just enough to beat the Vikings on Sunday Night Football by a final score of 20-16 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings got on the board first in this one, taking the opening kickoff and marching it 75 yards, concluding the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to a wide-open Adam Thielen. Greg Joseph hit the extra point and the Vikings found themselves leading 7-0 just over three minutes into the contest.
.@athielen19 gets us rolling early!!— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 1, 2021
: @SNFoNBC pic.twitter.com/e3P21pQiV1
The Cowboys had an opportunity for points on their first drive, but Greg Zuerlein pushed a 43-yard field goal attempt wide to the left to keep the visitors off the scoreboard.
Early in the second quarter, Cooper Rush (starting in place of Dak Prescott) threw a pass over the middle that was tipped by Harrison Smith into the hands of former Cowboy Xavier Woods for an interception to stop a potentially promising drive.
❌ @its_hollyWOODs ❌— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 1, 2021
: @SNFonNBC pic.twitter.com/XWv957spiN
The Vikings could not turn the turnover into points, and the Cowboys finally got on the board on the next drive with a 38-yard field goal from Zuerlein to make it 7-3 with just over six minutes left in the half.
Minnesota took advantage of some Dallas errors on the subsequent drive, including an offside penalty on a punt that gave them a free set of downs. The Vikings then got a big fourth-down conversion from Cousins to Thielen to put them into Dallas territory. Unfortunately, they only mustered a field goal as Greg Joseph connected on a 44-yarder to make it 10-3.
Dallas got into the end zone right away in the third quarter, courtesy of a 73-yard touchdown pass from Rush to Cedrick Wilson that saw him just run away from Mackensie Alexander on a blown coverage. Zuerlein was good on the extra point, and just like that the game was tied at 10-10.
Minnesota took the lead back with just over six minutes left in the third quarter on a 41-yard field goal from Joseph to make the score 13-10. At the end of the quarter, the Cowboys tied it back up again on a 39-yarder from Zuerlein to make it 13-13.
The Cowboys began to march again in the fourth quarter, but Woods made another big play as he came in on the blitz and hit Cooper Rush to cause a fumble that Anthony Barr recovered at the Minnesota 48-yard line.
It's a new day!!!@its_hollyWOODS— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 1, 2021
: @SNFonNBC pic.twitter.com/DExFwkljlP
The Vikings proceeded to go backwards on the ensuing drive because of penalties, giving the ball back to Dallas with about nine minutes left to play.
Minnesota finally got back into the red zone thanks to a raft of Dallas penalties late in the fourth, but the drive stalled out and the Vikings settled for a 24-yard field goal from Joseph to take the lead back, 16-13, with just under three minutes remaining in the contest.
That was too much time for Cooper Rush, who led the Cowboys down the field and got them to a first-and-goal at the Minnesota 4-yard line. Rush then hit Amari Cooper for a touchdown and the Cowboys took their first lead of the night with just 51 seconds remaining, 20-16.
The Minnesota Vikings lost to a Dallas team with their backup quarterback, and they richly deserved it. We’ll just leave it at that for this one.
Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman.