The Dallas Cowboys flogged the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon, but the message thereafter from Minnesota was largely panic-free.
Dallas creamed Minnesota 40-3 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 12, the Vikings sixth-worst loss in team history per point differential.
The Vikings had previously won seven consecutive games after a similar-but-different beatdown in Philadelphia two months ago. In that Week 2 affair, Minnesota was handily defeated but not utterly embarrassed, as was the case versus Dallas.
And while some fans headed for the hills after the 37-point defeat, Vikings players and coaches were upfront and honest about the outcome. “We’re still 8-2. That’s something to be proud of,” star wideout Justin Jefferson told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.
First-year head coach Kevin O’Connell said afterward that he “didn’t coach well enough” and that his coaching staff and players will “band together.”
Veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen had a hard time believing the loss to Dallas was indicative of reality, telling Tomasson, “I think it’s important to kind of get that bad taste out of our mouth and say, hey, that wasn’t us.”
Chandon Sullivan, who joined the Vikings via free agency from the Green Bay Packers last spring, provided insight, too, “The funny thing about the NFL is that it has a way of humbling you.”
Before Sunday, the Vikings had only suffered one worse home loss per point differential — 59 years ago. Minnesota was humbled and thoroughly outclassed in all aspects of the sport against Dallas, struggling to compete for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked and stripped for a fumble to start the game, setting the tone for the afternoon. While the Vikings stayed relevant until about 4:00 pm CST, the team never recovered from the opening-drive blunder.
Particularly, the offensive line produced its worst showing of 2022, allowing Cousins to be pressured about 63% of the time, a career-high [in a bad way] for the 34-year-old, who is certainly no stranger to poor pass protection.
On the whole, though, the Vikings players and coaches have a point. They can right the ship on Thanksgiving night against the New England Patriots, who’ve toppled the Vikings five straight times. This time, however, the Vikings are favored by 3.5 points.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).