The Call: Vikings at Dallas

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 2, 2013 - 9:09 PM
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Jeff Heath and Brandon Carr were part of a secondary that gave up 329 receiving yards to Calvin Johnson last week.

Photo: Rick Osentoski • Associated Press,

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35

Cowboys

24

Vikings

One man’s prediction: The Cowboys are coming off a late-game meltdown against the Detroit Lions, but Tony Romo and his receivers have a decisive edge going against the depleted Vikings secondary. This game features two of the worst defenses in the NFL, so expect a lot of points.

Dire defense

Remarkably, the Cowboys rank below the Vikings in pass defense. The Cowboys are dead last in the NFL while the Vikings are 29th. Detroit’s Calvin Johnson torched Dallas for 329 receiving yards. The Vikings secondary already was without safety Harrison Smith and now two other starters — cornerback Chris Cook and safety Jamarca Sanford — won’t play because of injuries.

 

Can’t get off the field

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said his defensive staff would re-evaluate their plan on third down after the Packers converted 13 of 18 opportunities last week. That performance dropped the Vikings to last in the league in third-down defense. The Cowboys are 24th in third-down offense, but the Vikings secondary has to tackle better and not give up big plays down the field to Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, who is averaging 17.1 yards per catch.

 

Ball control

The Vikings offense is designed to control the ball with Adrian Peterson’s running, but that approach has been absent the past three games. Peterson has carried the ball only 36 times total in that span. The Vikings can’t continue to fall behind by double digits because they are simply not built to play catch-up. “We’ll put the emphasis on the run and not to get frustrated,” Peterson said. “I’m not worried about yards. I’m worried about getting a win.”

MANO-A-MANO: MATCHUP TO WATCH

Vikings MLB Erin Henderson vs. Cowboys TE Jason Witten

 

About Henderson

As the middle linebacker, Henderson is responsible for the deep middle of the field in the nickel package. He leads the team in tackles (96) and is tied for team-lead with two interceptions.

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