By Shawn S. Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys come off a heartbreaking last second loss to the Detroit Lions to face another NFC North team in the Minnesota Vikings. However, unlike last year’s playoff team, this year’s Vikings rank near the bottom of the NFL with only one win on the season.
The biggest problem with the Minnesota Vikings is that they have no idea who they want to play quarterback for the team. Last year, they made the playoffs with Christian Ponder as their signal caller. He was not a star, but he managed games well for the team. In the first three games of 2012, he threw five interceptions and only two touchdowns, and after an injury, Matt Cassel took his place.
Cassel came in and led the Vikings to their only win of the season, throwing for 248 yards and two touchdowns. It caused Adrian Peterson to speak up after the game, saying it looked like their best chance to win might be with Cassel as quarterback. However, after his second game ended up in a loss after throwing two interceptions and one touchdown, the Vikings brought in former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman to start in Week 7.
In his first Vikings start, Freeman threw for 190 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. Ponder returned in Week 8 after it was learned that Freeman suffered a concussion and only threw for 145 yards in the loss, although he at least didn’t throw an interception. Now, head coach Leslie Frazier said he has no idea yet who will start against Dallas.
No matter who starts at quarterback for Minnesota, Adrian Peterson is the team’s best weapon. Unfortunately, the quarterback controversy has killed his momentum. Since no one fears any of the team’s quarterbacks, teams can stack the line of scrimmage against Peterson and he has not run for over 100 yards since Week 4. In the one game Freeman started, Peterson only gained 28 rushing yards.
With Dallas best at stopping the run, this is a game that looks to heavily favor the Cowboys. The Vikings best receivers are Jerome Simpson and Greg Jennings and there is not a Calvin Johnson in site for this week’s game.
Another problem in Minnesota is a defense that ranks 29th in the NFL against the pass and 21st against the run. With DeMarco Murray possibly coming back this week, the Cowboys will have a team that is healing up. Even without Murray, this is a game that Tony Romo should have no problem finding open receivers to throw the ball to.
Minnesota is giving up 287 passing yards and 113 rushing yards a game and have allowed 16 passing touchdowns and nine rushing touchdowns this year. After a heartbreaking loss to the Lions, this should be a game that allows Dallas to get back to form.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.