Cowboys Dominate the Trenches, Serve Vikings Their 2nd Loss

Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and forces a fumble during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It was an ugly day in Minnesota as the Vikings headed home for the first time since Week 8 to host the Dallas Cowboys. From the get-go, it was clear that it simply wasn’t Minnesota’s day as the Cowboys dominated the trenches throughout the afternoon and serve the Vikings their 2nd loss of the 2022 season, winning by a score of 40-3.

One of the keys for the Vikings to win this game was finding a way to stop Micah Parsons. On Minnesota’s very first drive, we got a taste of what was to come throughout the afternoon.

Parsons broke free from star left tackle Christian Darrisaw and strip-sacked Kirk Cousins from behind. It was one of a career-high seven sacks of Cousins on the afternoon. Making matters worse, Darrisaw would eventually leave the game with a concussion, forcing Blake Brandel to step back into the lineup. On the ensuing drive, Dallas would take a 3-0 lead on a field goal, and they would never trail during the game.

This was just the latest of the injuries that are beginning to pile up for the Vikings. Going into this game, Minnesota was already without Cam Dantzler (on IR) as well as Akayleb Evans (concussion) and Dalvin Tomlinson (calf).

The missing pieces became apparent as the Cowboys jumped out to a 23-3 lead at halftime on the back of over 100 rushing yards between Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Minnesota scored a field goal in the first quarter to tie the score at 3, but Dallas went on to score 37 unanswered points throughout the rest of the game.

For the Vikings offense, the struggles on the o-line didn’t help matters, but they could not put anything together on that side of the field. Cousins finished his day completing just 12/25 passes for 105 yards and zero touchdowns. Things got so out of hand that Nick Mullens came in to finish the game.

Additionally, no receivers broke the 40-yard barrier during this game, with T.J. Hockenson leading the way with five catches for 34 yards. Overall, the Vikings didn’t reach 100 total yards of offense until the third quarter.

On the other side, things couldn’t have gone better for the Cowboys offense. Dak Prescott completed 22/25 passes for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Outside of Prescot, the highlight for the day has to be Pollard. He totaled 189 yards from scrimmage, including a 68-yard touchdown reception on the opening drive of the second half.

This will be a short rest for both teams as the Cowboys and Vikings each host Thanksgiving Day games this week. The Cowboys (7-3) host the New York Giants (7-3) in a pivotal game that could determine help determing some of the wild card seeding in the NFC. New York is coming off a loss to the Detroit Lions (4-6) on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Vikings (8-2) host the New England Patriots (6-4) in what they hope can be a redemption game against Bill Belichick. The Patriots are coming off a victory over the New York Jets (6-4). Minnesota and New England are scheduled to kick off at 7:20 PM CST on Thanksgiving.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.