Vikings-Cowboys Snapshot

The Vikings are underdogs and might be able to get off to a good start, but can they win? We've got a few keys to the game, key injuries and fast facts.

Sunday
Arizona Cardinals (3-3) at Washington Redskins (3-2)
Atlanta Falcons (1-5) at New Orleans Saints (1-4)
Baltimore Ravens (4-2) at Buffalo Bills (1-4)
New England Patriots (6-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-6)
San Francisco 49ers (2-3) at New York Giants (4-2)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) at Detroit Lions (3-2)
Tennessee Titans (3-2) at Houston Texans (3-3)
Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) at Oakland Raiders (2-3)
New York Jets (1-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-4)
Chicago Bears (2-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
St. Louis Rams (0-6) at Seattle Seahawks (3-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at Denver Broncos (2-3)
Monday
Indianapolis Colts (5-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-1)


Minnesota Vikings (2-3) at Dallas Cowboys (5-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
GAMEDATE: 10/21/07
SURFACE: Sportfield Realgrass
TV: FOX, Kenny Albert, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
SERIES: 26th meeting. Cowboys lead series, 13-12, but the Vikings have won the past five meetings. That includes an NFC wild-card victory in 1999 at the Metrodome.

KEYS TO THE GAME

The Vikings can keep this close because they have a potent running back tandem with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, and because the Cowboys haven't scored a first-quarter touchdown all season. But they're not going to really threaten elite teams until QB Tarvaris Jackson emerges as a legitimate threat to hurt defenses downfield. He has two touchdowns and five interceptions, and reading 3-4 schemes is difficult for any young passer.

The Cowboys — and more important, QB Tony Romo — have to be prepared to not have the support of a strong running game. The Vikings allow just 66.2 yards per game on the ground, and the plan will be to stuff RBs Julius Jones and Marion Barber and then pressure Romo into turnovers. If Romo avoids big mistakes, the Vikings' secondary is vulnerable and the Cowboys should roll.

KEY INJURIES

Vikings: LB Vinny Ciurciu (ankle sprain) FB Naufahu Tahi (knee sprain), and S Dwight Smith (hamstring) are out, the first two depleting the special teams and the third taking a starter away from the defense.

Cowboys: CB Anthony Henry (ankle sprain) will be replaced by Jacques Reeves for a third straight game; FB Oliver Hoyte (pinched nerve, neck) could miss a fifth straight game; Romo (shoulder) said he has no lingering problems.

FAST FACTS

Vikings WR Sidney Rice leads NFC rookies with seven receptions on third downs.

The Cowboys have been outscored 33-6 in the first quarter this season.



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