Over the last handful of years at least, the Minnesota Vikings have established a reputation of struggling on the biggest stages when it matters most. From missed chip-shot field goals that would lift the team to victory to costly turnovers late in games, Vikings fans have been through it all when it comes to the purple and gold when the lights are shining brightest. And so far this year, that trend has continued to some extent, with Minnesota already having lost a few winnable games earlier in the regular season when it looked like the Vikings could come out on top. But the Minnesota Vikings Week 8 game provides another opportunity for a win in prime time.
Minnesota Vikings Week 8 Matchup Gives Team An Opportunity To Improve in Prime Time Games
Among the list of struggles displayed by Minnesota on the big stage has been its performances in prime time games and the team oftentimes coming up short of expectations in those games with a national audience tuning in. In Week 8, the Vikings will take part in their first prime time game of the 2021 season, when they host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. The battle against Dallas will be tough enough for Minnesota, let alone the fact that it is a prime-time game on national television. But could this year be different for the Vikings when it comes to their historically bad performances in prime time?
Over the last three years, Minnesota has had a nice handful of games scheduled in prime time with the exception of the 2020 campaign, when the Vikings only had three. This season, barring any games that are flexed to different time slots in the latter half of the regular season, Minnesota will have four games in prime time.
Over the last three seasons, the Vikings haven’t necessarily thrived on the big stage and have finished each season at or below the .500 mark in prime time contests. In 2018, Minnesota had a total of six prime-time games and finished with a record of 1-5 during that span. In 2019, the Vikings took part in six more games on the national stage and recorded their best mark in the last three years with a 3-3 record in prime time games. Last season, Minnesota played in just three prime time games and went 1-2 in those contests.
Those records are underwhelming, to say the least, and for some context, the Vikings hold a combined record of 21-13-1 in non-prime time contests over that same three-year span.
With four games on the schedule to be played in prime time in 2021, the Vikings hope to change that disappointing track record beginning with a Halloween matchup against Dallas in Week 8.
Taking on the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football
Minnesota will try to take advantage of a big prime time contest in Week 8 at home against Dallas. But it won’t be an easy task against a Cowboys team that has been playing like one of the best teams in the NFL and a team that could make a push towards a Super Bowl appearance this season. Dallas, coming into the game at 5-1 overall sits atop the NFC East standings and has been one of the best teams as of late. After opening the season up with a loss they have rattled five straight wins.
Away from Dallas this season, the Cowboys hold a record of 2-1, but they will run into a Vikings squad that is tough to play at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Minnesota has traditionally been a tough team to defeat when it plays in front of its home crowd, and the Vikings are coming into Week 8 with a record of 2-1 at home.
One thing that might play into the favor of the Vikings is the injury status of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who reportedly has a calf strain injury that has kept him limited throughout the week leading up to the Sunday Night Football battle. If Prescott is not able to take the field for Dallas, Minnesota could try and make things tough for Cowboys backup Cooper Rush in what will probably be a tough environment.
The Vikings enter the game coming off of a bye in Week 7 and winners of two straight. They are in second place in the NFC North at 3-3 overall and trail the Green Bay Packers who are first in the division. The Vikings have looked much better over the last few weeks compared to early in the season, and the play of quarterback Kirk Cousins has certainly helped to lead a talented offense in Minnesota.
The offensive talent on both sides of the field will likely set the stage for a high-scoring affair between the Vikings and Cowboys in Week 8. And for Minnesota, it will provide an opportunity for a win in prime time.