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5 Takeaways: Vikings Falter Late in Home Loss to Cowboys

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings saw their three-game win streak end with a thud Sunday evening, as Minnesota fell 31-28 at home to Dallas.

Minnesota entered riding high after three straight wins over Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago, but made too many mistakes at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings lost the turnover battle 2-1 and couldn't score off their lone takeaway. The Cowboys scored nine points off a pair of lost Minnesota fumbles.

The Vikings are now 1-4 at home this season, and 4-6 overall.

Minnesota couldn't hold a pair of fourth-quarter leads at 21-16 or 28-24.

The Vikings earned a 28-24 win over the Cowboys in Dallas in 2019 — a game in which Minnesota won the fourth quarter — but the Vikings didn't make enough plays down the stretch to secure a win this time around.

The loss likely quiets chatter about Minnesota's surge into the playoff conversation. If the Vikings had won and gotten back to .500, they would have just been one game back for the third and final Wild Card spot in the NFC.

Now Minnesota will need to regroup for a Week 12 home date against Carolina, which is 4-7 and coming off an impressive 20-0 win over Detroit.

Here are four more takeaways from Sunday afternoon:

1. Talented WRs put on a show

If you like high-caliber wide receivers, Sunday's game was for you.

On the Vikings side, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson dominated the Dallas secondary to each have big days.

Thielen finished with eight catches for 123 yards and two scores. He now has 11 touchdown catches on the season after hauling in scores of 2 and 3 yards on Sunday.

Jefferson had three receptions for 86 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown catch that put the Vikings ahead with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The rookie averaged 28.7 yards per catch against the Cowboys.

Another first-round rookie also had a big day. Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb finished with four catches for 34 yards and a score. He also scored on a 2-point conversion, and had three punt returns for 48 yards.

2. A smattering of penalties

The Vikings were able to overcome plenty of miscues Sunday, including a long list of penalties throughout the game.

And while some were iffy calls, Minnesota was dinged a total of eight times for 80 yards — with all three phases getting flagged at least once.

That tally was the second-most flags thrown against the Vikings this season, behind nine called on Minnesota in Week 9 at home against Detroit.

The penalty yardage was a season high, thanks in part to three different calls that went for 15 yards apiece.

Left guard Dakota Dozier was called for a chop block in the first quarter that set Minnesota back 15 yards. Harrison Smith was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second quarter, but that play looked like a clean hit.

And wide receiver Bisi Johnson was hit with a 15-yarder for a facemask grab a little more than midway through the third quarter.

Kris Boyd was flagged on back-to-back plays in the second quarter on special teams. He caught a pass for a first down on a throw from punter Britton Colquitt, but was called for an illegal shift after he moved before the snap from his gunner position.

And when Colquitt punted on the ensuing play, Boyd was called for an illegal block in the back despite trying to make his way down the field to secure a tackle.

The Cowboys were called for four total penalties for 30 yards.

3. Kendricks and Wilson keep shining

The playoff Eric Kendricks and Eric Wilson has been a key reason for Minnesota's defensive resurgence of late, and the two delivered again Sunday afternoon.

Kendricks recorded a first-half interception, and now has picks in back-to-back home games. He also stood tall on a third-and-1 run when he stuffed Ezekiel Elliott for no gain.

Wilson has been a turnover machine, but he showed up in a big way on special teams. Wilson blocked an extra point on Dallas' first score.

4. Vikings run defense struggles

The Vikings had seemingly shored up their run defense in recent weeks, but that unit took a step back in Week 11.

Minnesota allowed a season-high 180 rushing yards to running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, who combined for 163 yards.

Elliott had 21 carries for 103 yards — his first 100-yard outing of the season. He had a long of 18 yards on the day.

Pollard had just five carries on the day but had a game-changing play in the fourth quarter with a 42-yard touchdown run. He finished with 60 yards on five carries.