The Minnesota Vikings have lost their last three games by a combined score of 102-48, which would be even worse if not for two garbage time touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. Week 9 brings a trip to take on the Dallas Cowboys, who are 4-4 and in first place in the NFC East.
Here are some notable numbers which stand to play a role in who wins Sunday’s game.
287.9- Minnesota has allowed 287.9 passing yards per game this season (29th in the league), and the Cowboys are eighth in the league in passing offense (261.3 yards per game) with an array of talented pass catchers and quarterback Tony Romo having one of his best seasons to this point.
92.0- Minnesota’s three quarterbacks have combined for a passer rating of 69.6 in seven games, led by Matt Cassel’s 92.0 passer rating over his two starts. Yet Cassel appears to be completely out of the picture right now, while Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman are the two options to start Sunday and beyond.
66:17- Minnesota has possessed the ball for 66 minutes and 17 seconds over their last three games combined, a bi-product of a defense that can’t get off the field on third down and an offense that has only fleeting moments of sustaining anything positive. Each of their last three opponents has had the ball for at least 36 minutes, making time of possession an underrated reason for the Vikings’ current struggles.
36- Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson has 36 carries over the last three games, as the team has trailed decisively late in each game and his role has been minimized. Dallas is in the middle of the pack against the run thus far (107.1 yards per game, 17th in the league), so if Minnesota can get their running game back on track and keep the Cowboys’ offense off the field they could have a chance to pull the upset.
4.5- Vikings’ defensive end Jared Allen leads the team with 4.5 sacks, but 2.5 of those came against the Pittsburgh Steelers and their lackluster offensive line in Week 4. Now that he has not been traded, Allen has to step up and spearhead a Minnesota pass rush that has just 14 sacks this season (27th in the league).
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.