By the numbers: Miinnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys

As the Minnesota Vikings prepare for a game without head coach Mike Zimmer on the sidelines after emergency eye surgery, we look at the rankings for the Vikings and Cowboys. Which players and phases of the game will be difference-makers?

In a game worthy of national attention on Thursday night, and one in which Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will not be attending after emergency eye surgery, there are dozens of players that could be difference-makers in tonight’s Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys matchup.

Here are the numbers for pregame debate on which players are most likely to be Thursday Night Football MVPs.


  • The Vikings have the 32nd-ranked offense (32nd rushing, 24th passing) and the 3rd-ranked defense (14th rushing, 4th passing).
  • The Cowboys have the 4th-ranked offense (2nd rushing, 16th passing) and the 21st-ranked defense (3rd rushing, 31st passing).
  • Dallas is averaging 407 yards a game (250 passing, 157 rushing). Minnesota is averaging 295 yards a game (224 passing, 71 rushing).
  • The Vikings are allowing 307 yards a game (207 passing, 100 rushing). The Cowboys are allowing 362 yards a game (280 passing, 82 rushing).
  • Minnesota is second in takeaway/giveaway ratio at plus-12 (20 takeaways, 8 giveaways). Dallas is tied for ninth at plus-3 (10 takeaways, 7 giveaways).
  • Dallas is one of two teams (along with Buffalo with six) with fewer giveaways than Minnesota.
  • The Cowboys are sixth in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 29 of 45 possessions (64.4 percent). The Vikings are 28th at 46. 9 percent (15 touchdowns on 32 possessions).
  • Minnesota is 10th in red zone defense, allowing touchdowns on 15 of 29 opposing possessions (51.7 percent). Dallas is 20th at 56.4 percent (22 touchdowns in 39 possessions).
  • Dallas is third in the league in third-down conversion rate at 48.5 percent (64 of 132). Minnesota is 20th at 38.7 percent (58 of 150). The league average is 40.1 percent.
  • The Vikings are 15th in third-down defense, allowing conversions on 57 of 146 opportunities (39.0 percent). The Cowboys are 23rd at 41.9 percent (54 of 129).
  • Dak Prescott is 22nd in pass attempts (340), 21st in completions (231), 6th in completion percentage (67.9), 15th in pass yards (2,835), tied for 14th in touchdown passes (18), tied for 3rd in interceptions (2) and 4th in passer rating (108.6).
  • Sam Bradford is 20th in pass attempts (348), 15th in completions (248), 2nd in completion percentage (71.3), 22nd in pass yards (2,415), tied for 20th in touchdown passes (12), tied for 5th in interceptions (3) and 10th in passer rating (98.3).
  • Prescott is seventh in fourth-down passer rating at 109.1. Bradford is 12th at 96.1.
  • Prescott is eighth in third-down passer rating at 103.2. Bradford is 11th at 97.9.
  • Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL in rushing with 1,199. Jerick McKinnon is 41st at 316 yards. Matt Asiata is 49th with 287 yards.
  • Despite missing time, Stefon Diggs is fourth in the league in receptions with 67. Cole Beasley is tied for 20th with 58th receptions and Jason Witten is tied for 33rd with 52 receptions.
  • Diggs is 19th in receiving yardage with 747. Beasley is 33rd with 647 yards. Adam Thielen is 46th with 571 yards.
  • Elliott is tied for second in scoring among non-kickers with 72 points (12 touchdowns).
  • Asiata and Kyle Rudolph are tied for 38th with 30 points each (five touchdowns).
  • Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey is tied for seventh in scoring among kickers with 94 points. Blair Walsh and Kai Forbath have combined to score 61 points, which would rank them 26th.
  • In yards from scrimmage, Elliott is second with 1,502 yards (1,199 rushing, 303 receiving). Diggs is 37th with 757 yards (747 receiving, 10 rushing).
  • Dallas punter Chris Jones in 10th in punting average at 46.5 yards. Jeff Locke is 25th at 44.5 yards.
  • In a complete reversal, Locke is ninth in net punt average at 41.1 yards. Jones is 21st at 39.6 yards.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson leads the league in kickoff return average at 31.3 yards – 1.2 yards clear of his closest challenger and 3.1 yards or better from the next closest.
  • Only 14 teams have enough returns to qualify players for the league lead in kickoff return average and Dallas isn’t one of them.
  • Xavier Rhodes is tied for fourth in the league in interceptions with four.
  • Danielle Hunter is tied for 15th in sacks with 7½. Everson Griffen is tied for 24th with six. Brian Robison is tied for 34th with five.
  • Andrew Sendejo is tied for third in defensive fumble recoveries with two.

Viking Update Top Stories