Ben Goessling's Second Thoughts
A look back at the Vikings' 28-24 victory in Dallas.
Three players who stood out
•Dalvin Cook: In 2012, Adrian Peterson accounted for 2,314 yards on 388 touches — an average of 5.96 yards. Through 10 games, Cook has 1,415 yards (991 rushing and 424 receiving) on 243 touches (5.82). He's had 12 more rushing attempts and 19 more touches through 10 games than Peterson did in 2012, and has accounted for 132 more yards, with three more touchdowns and the same number of fumbles.
•Eric Kendricks: Mike Zimmer said after the game the linebacker has been more aggressive in pass coverage this season than in recent years, and though that tendency comes with some side effects — "He jumped up on one and they threw the ball behind him tonight, too," Zimmer said after the game — Kendricks' fourth-down pass breakup of Dak Prescott's throw to Ezekiel Elliott effectively saved the game.
•Kirk Cousins: The performance that Cousins had on Sunday night wasn't his flashiest, but isn't what he did for the Vikings exactly what everyone's been waiting to see from him? Cousins had a turnover-free performance, in a prime-time road game, against a team with a winning record, and was seven of 10 for 80 yards and a touchdown (with one sack) on third downs.
Two Areas of concern
•Vikings secondary: With Trae Waynes out because of an ankle injury, the Cowboys targeted Mike Hughes. On a few of the balls they completed on him, there's not much else Hughes could have done. Still, the Vikings are going to have to contend with teams going after their corners, with or without a healthy Waynes.
•Pass protection: Mark Craig charted Cousins as being under pressure on eight of his 22 first-half dropbacks; Cousins completed five passes for 53 yards on those plays, and was sacked only once for the night, but he was hit seven times in a game where he worked largely with a lead and an effective run game. The Vikings surely would like to see that number come down.
And one big question
•Can we now put to bed questions about the Vikings' ability to win big games? The victory will go a ways toward calming the narrative about Cousins being unable to win big games, but the Vikings will face a tougher road test in their next game away from U.S. Bank Stadium — a Monday night matchup in Seattle. It'll probably take a few wins like this one to change the perception (and the objective data that fuels some of the perception), but what the Vikings did on Sunday night was a start.