Two teams in very different situations meet this weekend, with the Vikings playing for their 4th NFL Preseason win & the Cowboys fighting for their 1st.
What We Know About The Coaches
Mike Zimmer of the Vikings is 7-0 in the preseason, 3-0 this year, after his team scratched out another win last week. The Vikings have defeated Pittsburgh in the added Hall of Fame Game, followed by Tampa Bay and Oakland in the first two full weeks of competition for all NFL teams in the preseason.
Jason Garrett of the Cowboys is 7-12 in the preseason, 0-2 this year, after his team fell, 23-6, at San Francisco this past Sunday evening. The Cowboys are a risky NFL Pick with their “just get through the preseason” look, trying to make it to opening day without suffering any more than they absolutely have to. Give the edge to the Vikings in this game.
The Vikings are loving the way Teddy Bridgewater is playing. The second-year man out of Louisville is 22 of 28 passing in the preseason, with no turnovers. Bridgewater is such a student of the game and seems like a guy who – should he stay healthy – will be successful in the NFL. Backups Shaun Hill and Taylor Heinecke both committed turnovers, though, so that’s something to watch for with Minnesota.
The Cowboys have no one behind Tony Romo in this game. Backup Brandon Weeden suffered a concussion against San Francisco, so he will almost surely not play in this game. Dustin Vaughan threw an interception which was returned for a touchdown by the Niners. He is not helping the Cowboys’ offense at all. Fourth-stringer Jameill Showers should get a lot of playing time here. Romo has absorbed a lot of hits in his career, and even though this is the third preseason game for Dallas, when starters normally play more, the quarterback does not need to see the field for a long period of time. It should be a combination of Vaughan and Showers.
As poorly as Minnesota’s backup quarterbacks performed against the Oakland Raiders last week, Dallas’ performances were worse. Also, Dallas has scored a total of just 13 points in its two preseason games. The Cowboys scored just seven points a week earlier against San Diego.
One more note: Minnesota’s game against Oakland was delayed by lightning. That’s not an excuse, but it is an abnormal event which could have contributed to poor quarterback performances from Hill and Heinecke.
Team Depth & Rotations
The Vikings did not suffer any major injuries the past week. Dallas did. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick got injured in practice on Tuesday and will miss the entire season – he tore his ACL. This leaves the Cowboys thin in the secondary. Their defense is the more solid unit on the team, but this will create a need the team has to be able to address. Advantage, Minnesota.
Outlook & Pick
The Vikings have all three checkmarks in this comparison. They should win this game, though Dallas would be favored in a regular season situation without question.
NFL Pick: Vikings +1.5 at The Greek