The Vikings fell 31-28 to the Cowboys on Sunday evening at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Minnesota (4-6) failed to put Dallas (3-7) away late. Unable to get a defensive stop, the offense sputtered on its last two possessions of the night. Mistakes throughout undermined multiple bright spots, including big nights by receivers.
Here are three stats that stood out:
1. Unremarkable leads to 'remarkable rush'
The Vikings containment of Tony Pollard on the second-year pro's 42-yard run was less than remarkable, but it earned status as a "remarkable rush" in the world of Next Gen Stats.
According to NGS, Pollard was expected to gain 9 on the play. The 33 yards above expectation ranked second in Week 11 (excluding Monday's game).
Pollard also recorded the second-fastest speed by a ball carrier in Week 11, topping out at 20.86 miles per hour after coming through the line cleanly.
The miscue is the longest rush allowed by Minnesota in 2020 and gave Dallas a 24-21 lead in the fourth quarter.
Cowboys starter Ezekiel Elliott, who entered the game averaging 63.6 rushing yards per contest this season, totaled 103 yards against Minnesota. That season-best was boosted with an 18-yard run on which he was expected to gain 7.
Dalvin Cook also landed among the top 20 of the week with his 16-yard run. NGS expected him to gain 5 on the play. He finished with 115 yards and a score on 27 carries, earning another nomination for FedEx Ground Player of the Week.
The Vikings repeatedly mentioned the speed of the Cowboys defense that was coming off a bye. Minnesota, which was playing on short rest, didn't appear to have the added burst. The fastest speed recorded by a Vikings ball carrier was 19.35 mph by Kirk Cousins. No offense to the QB, but that's probably not going to be the best-case scenario for Minnesota.
2. Comparing fastest sacks
Cousins felt the heat early when DeMarcus Lawrence and Donovan Wilson teamed up for a sack that included Wilson leading with his helmet and striking Cousins' helmet (a no call by the ref) and stripping the football from the quarterback to end Minnesota's first possession.
Next Gen Stats recorded the time to sack at 3.2 seconds, the seventh-fastest time of Week 11.
Minnesota's lone sack was recorded by Jaleel Johnson on a play that lasted seven seconds.
The Vikings inability to get pressure on Andy Dalton against a patchwork offensive line enabled the veteran to comfortably complete 22 of 32 passes for 203 yards with three scores for a passer rating of 104.0.
3. Cousins' connections with Thielen & Jefferson
The final two offensive possessions undercut an otherwise stellar night of slinging the rock by Cousins.
He recorded two "improbable completions."
According to NGS, Cousins' 2-yard touchdown pass that Adam Thielen snagged with his outstretched right hand only had a 24.6 likelihood of completion, which was the seventh-least probable. His 39-yard scoring strike to Justin Jefferson that put Minnesota up 28-24 was 16th this week with a 26.4 percent likelihood of completion.
Dalton's 4-yard score to rookie CeeDee Lamb ranked 20th with a likelihood of 31.3 percent.
Cousins has been nominated for the FedEx Air Player of the Week.