Vikings and Cowboys players talked all week about feeling a sense of urgency but that they're not pushing the panic button.
That may be true, but Sunday's game should have a feel of desperation to it.
Both teams were viewed by many as Super Bowl contenders before the season. But both teams are 1-3 entering Sunday's game and badly in need of a victory that gives them some momentum.
We'll have more on this theme in our gameday advance, but here's something to consider: Since the current playoff system started in 1990, only five teams that started 1-4 made the playoffs. None won the Super Bowl.
The season won't end for the team that loses, but that is a deep hole to climb out of.
“Two teams starving for a win,” Vikings middle linebacker E.J. Henderson said. “I think a win would point us in the right direction. I’m expecting a lot from the Cowboys and definitely expecting a lot from the Vikings.”
Said Dallas coach Wade Phillips: “I think both teams are certainly disappointed with what their record is right now, but they can both do something about it. It’s a good opportunity for one team to get their season started in the right direction.”
Both teams brought up turnover margin as one big reason for their record. The Vikings are tied for 30th in the NFL at minus 6; Dallas is No. 27 at minus 4. The two teams have combined for only eight takeaways compared to 18 turnovers.
The average margin of defeat for both teams in their losses is six points so those mistakes are magnified.
“It would be one thing if we were sitting here at 1-3 and we’ve been blown out every game and we’re struggling and like, ‘Gosh, what are we going to do?’” defensive end Jared Allen said. “But that’s not the situation. We know we’ve got the players, we know we’ve got the skill. We’ve just got to go out there and keeping grinding.”
"This season is far from over,” Allen added. “Our division is far from over. Believe it or not, even though we lost Monday [to the Jets 29-20], there’s some energy on this field. There’s some [feeling], ‘You know what? It’s time to get going.’ I think everybody knows we have the team to do it and it’s hard to say that a lot of times in this league.”