Sunday, October 17, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Vikings 24, Cowboys 21
By Kevin Seifert
MINNEAPOLIS -- Some observations from Minnesota's 24-21 victory against Dallas.
What it means: The Minnesota Vikings improved to 2-3 despite a lackluster offensive showing that included only one legitimate scoring drive, a total of 188 total yards and 14 first downs. But it was a positive week for the Vikings regardless, as the three other NFC North teams all lost.
Hero I: Middle linebacker E.J. Henderson intercepted two Tony Romo passes, his second coming with 7 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the game. The play gave the Vikings the ball at the 30-yard line and set up Ryan Longwell's go-ahead 38-yard field goal. Regardless of your team affiliation, it was heart-warming to watch Henderson celebrate when you realize that many thought his career was over last December after he fractured his femur.
Hero II: Percy Harvin's 95-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter closed a 14-7 halftime deficit and instilled new life in a team that seemed lifeless in the first half. It was Harvin's third kickoff return for a touchdown in 20 career games.
Hero III: Truth be told, the Cowboys couldn't get out of their own way in this game. The last of their 10 penalties nullified what should have been a gift from the Vikings. With the Cowboys out of timeouts and the Vikings trying to run out the clock, Favre instead threw a low-percentage pass to No. 4 receiver Greg Lewis. The pass sailed over Lewis' head, which should have stopped the clock on third down and given the Cowboys the ball back with about two minutes to go. Instead, cornerback Mike Jenkins was called for a game-clinching pass interference play.
Hero IV: Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett inexplicably declined to push an obvious mismatch between his receivers and the Vikings' injury-plagued secondary. Nickel back Lito Sheppard was the closest man in coverage on all three of the Cowboys' touchdowns, including a game-tying 31-yard pass to Dez Bryant. But Bryant, Miles Austin and Roy Williams combined for only six catches.
What's next: The Vikings travel to Lambeau Field for a game next Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.