Week 13 game review: Minnesota Vikings vs Dallas Cowboys

What were the good, bad, and interesting thing that happened during the Minnesota Vikings week 13 game against the Dallas Cowboys on December 1, 2016?

As week 13 of the NFL season approached, the Minnesota Vikings found themselves in a spot few could have imagined after a 5-0 start and being the last team in the league to get their first loss.

Now, their backs are against the wall. After losing 5 of their last 6 games, the Vikings are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in and their hold on the division title gets even looser with each loss this year.

Minnesota hoped to turn that around on Thursday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys. With their head coach out of the game with emergency medical issue, the Vikings were unable to hold off their opponents, falling 15-17.

Even though the Vikings lost, there were a lot of interesting things about this game. What were the good, bad, and interesting events? Let’s discuss those as usual, starting with the things that made us happy!

Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Kai Forbath (2) kicks a field goal during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Good Stuff

  1. U.S. Bank Stadium was rocking! The fans in attendance know just how important this game is for the Vikings. Not only did they help get a false start penalty on the first Cowboys drive, but it was even hard to hear the announcers before the game with the SKOL chant going on.
  2. Kai Forbath can kick! The kicker knocked through a 48 yard field goal in the first quarter which normally would have given fans in Minnesota nightmares. After that, he knocked through more kicks to make fans feel like the team did the right thing at the position.
  3. The Vikings defense was swarming. There was no lack of motivation or effort when it came to the players getting after the Cowboys. Every effort was fast and decisive, yet disciplined, particularly when it came to containing the Dallas run game.
  4. Watching a monster be made. I’ve given Danielle Hunter a lot of praise in the past. His talents are hard to ignore. But he’s going to get a MASSIVE payday and might just be a pass rusher for the Vikings for a long, long time. Speed, motor, athleticism, focus…he’s got it all.
  5. Winning the time of possession. Dallas had more explosive plays, but Minnesota was able to control the pace of the game and pick up first downs in a methodical fashion. This was a big reason the Vikings were able to hang with the Cowboys throughout the game.

Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence (90) tackles Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence (90) tackles Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad Things

  1. T.J. Clemmings is really struggling. Whether it is penalties, holding, or missing blocks, Clemmings continues to prove that left tackle might not be the best position for him going forward. Hopefully, Minnesota can find a strong player to hold that position down this offseason.
  2. Jerick McKinnon throwing a football. I’m not sure how this play ever got past the concept phase. It was a bad read, bad throw, and nearly a change of possession. Hopefully this play never sees the light of day again during a Vikings game.
  3. Catching a scrambling quarterback. What is it with containing a quarterback on 3rd down? With great coverage down the field, quarterbacks have taken advantage of the Minnesota defense in these situations on 3rd down and no adjustments are ever made to prevent it.
  4. A 16 yard punt. I’m not even sure how to go about this. I get punting it close to the goal like with back spin to give your team a shot to down it near the goal line, but a short kick made the punt a joke after the bounce. At that point, you’re better off angling it out of bounds…ditto for his 25 yard effort later on.
  5. Finishing drives. The Vikings may have controlled the clock and picked up a lot of first downs, but they couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. While Forbath did a nice job making his kicks and the defense held the Cowboys well…the offense just plain didn’t do enough to help.

Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) shoes before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Interesting Occurrences

  1. Ron Yary sounding the Gjallarhorn. As readers of TVA know, I’m a huge fan of the offensive line. That’s why when I heard that a Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman from the Vikings would have the honor of sounding the horn, I got REALLY excited.
  2. Nice color rush, Cowboys. I get that the Cowboys team colors aren’t exactly dynamic, but there has to be SOMETHING the team can do to give their uniforms a unique look. There may be some noticeable differences close up, but it just looked like white jerseys during the broadcast.
  3. Having the Vikings legends on hand. It would be amazing to see the former members of the Vikings who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yary joined up with many others to do a Mannequin Challenge before the game and get rings at halftime. Not a bad day for the legends!
  4. Fancy kicks. In a league where players can be fined for every silly thing in the world, it’s great to see a rule being loosened for a good cause. The players got to wear painted shoes with great causes or inspirational messages on them that would be auctioned for charity following the game.
  5. The Vikings sure know how to lose games. Minnesota loves to play games with its fans. This season, they leave the door open wide enough to give hope that this could be a win…only to watch it creak closed and break hearts. No wonder I have high blood pressure.

Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (98) during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Impression

The Minnesota Vikings did so many things well in this game. Sadly, the excellent play of the defense was overshadowed by an offense that struggled to get in scoring position and special teams unit that made too many mistakes.

Injuries are the big thing in this game. Not having Marcus Sherels available to return punts was an absolute mess, with Adam Thielen turning the ball over and giving the Cowboys a very short field.

But Thielen wasn’t the only one struggling with punt returns. Cordarrelle Patterson almost made a similar mistake, but the fast thinking of Audie Cole prevented the Cowboys from getting possession of the football.

There is a chance that this could have been the last game the Vikings have in terms of NFL relevancy. If Detroit continues to win, the thought of winning the division could be a pipe dream. And even worse, the idea of being a playoff contender gets harder and harder to imagine.

The Minnesota Vikings still have football to play though. They pushed the Cowboys to the limit, but now they have a long week off before making the trip to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars in week 14.

This article originally appeared on

Play 2016 FOX Pro Football Pick'em Game
Get The Fastest NFL
Scores, News and Alerts
NFL

Text yourself the FOX Sports App

-
-