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Early Look: Vikings & Cowboys Return to Action Under Bright Lights

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings (3-3) are back from their bye, and the Cowboys (5-1) are back in town this week.

Minnesota won its second game in a row of 2021 with a 34-28 overtime victory at Carolina in Week 6. Dallas also kept its mojo going in Week 6 with a 35-29 overtime win at New England before its Week 7 bye.

This will be the 33rd overall meeting between the franchises and 19th in Minnesota (including playoffs). It will be the second time in three seasons that the Vikings and Cowboys have met on NBC's Sunday Night Football. Minnesota outlasted Dallas in 2019 on SNF, but the Cowboys exacted revenge in a late afternoon game here last season.

Here's an Early Look at the Vikings Week 8 matchup against the Cowboys, presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Official LASIK partner of the Minnesota Vikings.


100 + 100 = 3-0

The Vikings have had an instance of a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver three times this season and won each time. Alexander Mattison and Justin Jefferson hit the marks against Seattle and Detroit. Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen did so at Carolina.


QB Kirk Cousins eclipsed 30,000 career passing yards in Week 6 at Carolina. He hit the milestone in his 115th game, which is tied with Peyton Manning for the fourth-fewest games to reach that total.

RB Dalvin Cook recorded his 17th career game with 100 rushing yards in Week 6 at Carolina, tying Ring of Honor RB Chuck Foreman for the third-most games with 100 or more rushing yards in franchise history.

Cook crossed the 4,000-yard mark in his 47th career game. Adrian Peterson (39 games) is the only Vikings player to total 4,000 rushing yards in fewer games.

WR Adam Thielen recorded his 21st career game with 100 receiving yards, which is one game shy of tying Anthony Carter for third all-time in team history.

WR Justin Jefferson has caught at least five passes in nine consecutive games, which ranks third in the NFL behind Cooper Kupp (11) and DJ Moore (10).

Minnesota is tied for the NFL lead with 21 sacks entering Week 8. That is just two sacks shy of Minnesota's total from 2020.


Head Coach: Mike McCarthy, 2nd season with Dallas (11-11)

Vikings fans are well-acquainted with McCarthy, who was head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 2006-18. McCarthy went 125-77-2 in regular-season games and 10-8 in playoff contests while with Green Bay.

QB Dak Prescott has returned from an injury in Week 5 of 2020 and completed a career-best 73.1 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and a passer rating of 115.0, which ranks fourth in the NFL entering Week 8.

His 39 games with a passer rating of 100-plus in 75 career starts ranks third all-time. Only Aaron Rodgers (43) and Tony Romo (41) had more in that span.

RB Ezekiel Elliott is barely 26 years old and having a renaissance. He led the NFL in rushing attempts and yards in two of his first three seasons and has bounced back from a down 2020 (979 rushing yards and six touchdowns) to rush for 521 yards and five scores in six games.

WR Amari Cooper has caught 22 passes for 307 yards and a score in three games against the Vikings (one with the Raiders; two with the Cowboys).

WR CeeDee Lamb has boosted his yards-per-game average from 58.4 last season as a rookie to 82.8 this season.

DE Randy Gregory has recorded 4.0 sacks this season after totaling 3.5 in 2020.

CB Trevon Diggs, the younger brother of former Vikings WR Stefon Diggs, leads the NFL with seven interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Cowboys.



Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer began his NFL career with the Cowboys in 1994. He coached DBs through 1999 before becoming the defensive coordinator from 2000-06.

Vikings Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson coached Dallas' defensive line from 2000-02.

Cowboys Senior Defensive Assistant George Edwards was Minnesota's defensive coordinator from 2014-19.

Vikings S Xavier Woods played for the Cowboys from 2017-20.

Minnesota DE Everson Griffen opened the 2020 season with Dallas.

Vikings assistant special teams coach Robert Steeples played for the Cowboys (2014-15).

Cowboys S Jayron Kearse was with the Vikings from 2016-19, and T Aviante Collins (practice squad) appeared in five games for Minnesota (2017-19).


Vikings CB Kris Boyd and LB Blake Lynch (Gilmer), RB Kene Nwangwu (Frisco), DT James Lynch (Round Rock) and WR Dede Westbrook (Cameron) are from Texas.


Vikings LS Andrew DePaola and Cowboys P Bryan Anger with the Buccaneers in 2016

Minnesota G Dakota Dozier and CB Parry Nickerson (practice squad) with Dallas DE Tarell Basham for the New York Jets

Vikings DT Michael Pierce with Cowboys CB Maurice Canady and DT Brent Urban at the Ravens

Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins and CB Bashaud Breeland with Dallas T Ty Nsekhe and TE Jeremy Sprinkle with Washington

Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson and Cowboys QB Cooper Rush during Giants training camp in 2020


Tomlinson and Cowboys WR Amari Cooper at Alabama

Minnesota DT Armon Watts and Sprinkle at Arkansas

Vikings G Ezra Cleveland and RB Alexander Mattison with Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch and WR Cedrick Wilson at Boise State

Minnesota TE Tyler Conklin and Rush at Central Michigan

Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander and Breeland with Kearse and Cowboys DE Carlos Watkins at Clemson

Minnesota WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Dallas DE Chauncey Golston at Iowa

Vikings DE Danielle Hunter and Cowboys T La'el Collins at LSU; Vikings WR Justin Jefferson and Cowboys LB Jabril Cox at LSU

Minnesota C Mason Cole and Dallas CB Jourdan Lewis at Michigan

Vikings S Harrison Smith and Cowboys G Zack Martin at Notre Dame

Vikings T Blake Brandel and Cowboys CB Nahshon Wright at Oregon State

Minnesota WR Dan Chisena with Dallas G Connor McGovern and LB Micah Parsons at Penn State

Vikings DE D.J. Wonnum with Cowboys S Israel Mukuamu at South Carolina

Minnesota LB Ryan Connelly with Dallas C Tyler Biadasz and RB Corey Clement at Wisconsin

Boyd with Cowboys G Connor Williams at Texas

Griffen with Dallas T Tyron Smith at Southern California

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.




Kirk Cousins: 9 starts (1-6 with Washington; 1-1 with Minnesota); 221-of-319 passing, 69.3 completion percentage, 2,453 passing yards, 17 TDs, 103.1 passer rating

Dalvin Cook: 2 games; 53 rushes for 212 yards and two touchdowns; 12 receptions for 131 receiving yards

Adam Thielen: 2 games; 15 receptions for 209 yards, 2 TDs on 20 targets

Justin Jefferson: 1 game; 3 receptions for 86 yards and 1 TD on 5 targets


Eric Kendricks: 3 games; 20 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FR

Danielle Hunter: 2 games; 8 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 2 TFL

Everson Griffen: 3 games; 15 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR

Dalvin Tomlinson: 8 games with Giants; 25 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 4 TFL


Kirk Cousins: 22-of-30 passing (73.3 percent), 314 yards, 3 TDs, passer rating of 140.1 in Minnesota on Nov. 22, 2020

Justin Jefferson: 3 receptions for 86 yards and 1 TD on 5 targets in Minnesota on Nov. 22, 2020

Adam Thielen: 8 receptions for 123 yards and 2 TDs on 11 targets in Minnesota on Nov. 22, 2020

Dalvin Cook: 26 rushes for 97 yards and 1 TD with seven catches for 86 yards at Dallas on Nov. 10, 2019

Eric Kendricks: 8 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD in Minnesota on Nov. 22, 2020

Danielle Hunter: 6 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 2 TFL in Minnesota on Dec. 1, 2016


1. The Vikings have a 15-17 record (including playoffs) against the Cowboys, a series that began in Minnesota's inaugural 1961 season and just the second regular-season game in franchise history. Fran Tarkenton made his first career start on Sept. 24, 1961, at Dallas but couldn't replicate his heroics from the previous week when he came off the bench.

2. All but one of the first 10 NFC Championship Games (1970-79) involved the Vikings, Cowboys or both teams. The teams split the two head-to-head matchups, with Minnesota claiming the 1973 contest on the way to Super Bowl IX. Dallas won the 1977 NFC Championship en route to winning Super Bowl XII.

3. The Vikings defeated the Cowboys 34-3 in the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs on Jan. 17, 2010, thanks to three touchdown catches by Sidney Rice and a strong defensive performance. Rice caught scoring passes of 47, 16 and 45 yards from Brett Favre, who added an 11-yard score to Visanthe Shiancoe that became the final touchdown in a playoff game at the Metrodome. Rice became the fourth of seven total players to catch three touchdowns in an NFL playoff game. Ray Edwards also recorded a trifecta of his own with 3.0 sacks of Tony Romo to set a Vikings record for a postseason game (since 1982).

Longest Vikings winning streak in series: 5 games (Nov. 26, 1998 through Sept. 12, 2004)

Longest Vikings losing streak in series: 4 games (Sept. 24, 19611 through Oct. 20, 1968)