I don’t know how to start this blog so let’s get the facts out there, as we know them. The (4-6) Minnesota Vikings lost at home this afternoon to the (3-7) Dallas Cowboys. The final score was 31-28.
Kirk Cousins had his best game of 2020, throwing for 314 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on 22/30 attempts. Dallas Cowboy fans would probably tell you that this was their team’s best effort of the 2020 season, too.
Both teams had losing records but Dallas came to Minneapolis ready for big boy football and, outside of the first drive, I thought the Vikings played well too.
It was an exciting game and I’m still struggling to work out my feelings on the loss. Here’s why.
It’s time to accept our defense for what it is
The Minnesota Vikings defense is really inconsistent and, when they struggle to stop the run, opposing offenses make hay. They still have a lot of talent but most of it is young and inexperienced. We need to stop expecting them to carry their weight game-to-game.
If the Vikings are going to make a playoff run, their offense will need to drag them there. The defense will show up for a game here or a drive there but the consistency will have to come from Kirk, Dalvin and Co. Them playing poorly doesn’t mean the Vikings played poorly. This is an offensive team in 2020, even if the offense leans on run, not pass.
I hate losing when Kirk Cousins plays well
When Kirk Cousins plays like shit, everyone immediately wants him traded or cut ASAP (myself included). So when he plays at an elite level, like he did today, I really want to celebrate… but losing sucks no matter how well your QB performed.
This was a massive game against a team that, according to the schedule, the Vikings needed to beat to make a playoff run. But you know what they will need even more than this win, if they’re going to be fighting for a top-7 seed in the NFC? Kirk Cousins to play just like he did today.
In fact, if you could promise me that Kirk would play the rest of this season at the same caliber he did today vs the Cowboys, I would take this loss over a sub-par Kirk for the stretch run. Sure, the Vikings offense stalled on their final drive but I can’t even blame that on Cousins.
I’m sure Justin Jefferson will be haunted by this drop for the rest of this season, if not longer. This easy completion would have gone for some nice YAC and put the Vikings in great position to send this game to OT with a FG, or win with a TD. JJ catches this ball 999 times out of 1000.
I’m sorry. I need this replay for a blog. pic.twitter.com/WnAcHvVH3B— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) November 23, 2020
I hate how much I want to blame Jefferson’s drop on this drive stalling out. Cousins had two opportunities to get six yards, after this play, but there was great coverage on 3rd down and great pressure on 4th. That’s why you can’t afford to miss opportunities like this one. Good teams don’t.
The Vikings would’ve loved to run their remaining schedule, but that was unlikely. They still have two games remaining vs bad teams, though, before they go to Tampa to play vs Tom Brady and the Gopherneers.
I wrote weeks back, that a playoff run would need a .500 record heading into that game. Wins over the Panthers and Jaguars over then next two weeks would make them 6-6.
Winning three straight gave the Minnesota Vikings enough cushion to shake this loss off… but now their buffer is gone. They need to win the next two games or the playoff climb would likely be too steep to conquer… though Drew Brees’ injury makes the week 15 saints game much more winnable.
Lastly, the referees were so bad in this game that they deserve their own blog. The NFL wanted the Cowboys to win today.. that much was obvious.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan