Throughout the past two months, the overall theme for the Vikings was always focused on improvement.
Despite tying an NFL record by winning seven consecutive games by a one-score margin, Minnesota Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and his players quickly turned their attention to what the team could do better.
The Vikings 40-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday revealed plenty to be fixed in all three phases. And Minnesota only has a few days to get back on track, as it hosts New England on Thanksgiving.
"We've got to learn from this," O'Connell said. "We've got to use this as an opportunity to grow as a football team and handle adversity the right way."
Will Ragatz of Sports Illustrated looked at how Minnesota will try to balance the fine line between learning from its mistakes Sunday and moving on. He wrote:
The Vikings will do their best to process this game and learn from it. But with a short week to prepare for the Patriots, there's also a need to quickly put this game behind them and turn the page. They can't let one ugly loss turn into something more.
The Cowboys set the tone quickly against the Vikings, getting a fumble recovery on just the third play of the game. From there, it was pretty much all Dallas, who took down quarterback Kirk Cousins seven times and out-gained Minnesota 458 to 183 in total yards.
Ragatz said the loss, however, could ultimately turn into a positive for the Vikings season.
Even though they were 8-1, the Vikings hadn't put together a full four quarters of consistent football. Losing in the way they did on Sunday could be a wake-up call for a team that has a lot to improve down the stretch.
"I do believe that we will respond to this the right way, but at this point in the season, November comes, and sometimes you can get hit in the mouth," O'Connell said. "This league has a way of humbling any football team at any point in time if you don't play good football."
As Minnesota tries to bounce back on Thursday, Ragatz noted the players are looking forward to having a quick turnaround.
"These are the weeks that you want to get back on the field as quickly as possible and go play a game," wide receiver Adam Thielen said. "It will be good to get back on the field and be able to show who we really are. Flush this one and move on and find a way to get better."
View game action photos of the Vikings vs. Cowboys in the Week 11 matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium.
CBS Sports Gives Out Grades for Week 11
One streak continued Sunday while another was snapped.
Minnesota's seven straight victories came to an end during its loss to the Cowboys, who moved to 4-0 in U.S. Bank Stadium since its opening in 2016.
John Breech of CBS Sports analyzed every game on Sunday from Week 11 and provided grades for each team. Breech gave the Vikings a 'D-' for their game. He wrote:
It's hard to rail against the entire team for failing to stop Dallas' pass rush when sterling left tackle Christian Darrisaw left early due to a concussion, but even Darrisaw was victimized before exiting. Kirk Cousins had no time to throw, and when he did, he looked almost exclusively to T.J. Hockenson, preferring to dink and dunk rather than absorb another sack. Justin Jefferson, therefore, was all but totally erased, as he was in the team's other blowout loss to an NFC East team this year.
Defensively, they weren't much better; Jordan Hicks and Patrick Peterson, two savvy vets on an occasionally feisty unit, both got dusted in key spots as Dallas did whatever it wanted to, whenever it wanted to, throughout Sunday's affair.