After dropping a winnable game against backup quarterback Matt Moore and the Chiefs last week, the Vikings head to Dallas for a prime-time game against the Cowboys.
Minnesota is in the toughest part of their schedule with the Cowboys and Seahawks due up over the next three games, both of which are on the road with Denver sandwiched between.
Here are three things to watch for, including staff predictions in the Week 10 NFC showdown.
1. Kirk Cousins comes through in prime time?
This might be news to some, but Cousins really struggles in prime time and especially against the Cowboys.
In seven career starts, Cousins has just one win over Dallas but this will be his first start against them in a non-Washington uniform. In prime-time starts, Cousins' teams are 6-13.
It's too soon to call this a season-defining game for both teams, but a loss puts each team behind the eight ball in their paths to the postseason. Instead, this is an opportunity to rattle off a big win before Minnesota heads back home to play a lowly Broncos team heading into the bye week.
So Cousins, if you're reading this, I'm (begging) giving you permission to ball out against the Cowboys and come through when circumstances don't go your way.
2. Diggs runs ramped
Diggs was a non-factor against the Chiefs last week with just one catch for four yards on five targets.Things could get tougher this week as Adam Thielen is still sidelined with a hamstring injury but Cousins should be looking Diggs' way a lot on Sunday night.
Diggs also seems to show up when the lights come on. In 16 career late games, he has 103 receptions, 1,224 yards and eight touchdowns.
And showing up at Jerry World seems inevitable for the charismatic receiver. So good luck slowing him down, Dallas.
3. Dan Bailey homecoming
Dan Bailey left Dallas as one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, joining the Vikings during a season filled with struggles in 2018. Now that Bailey is back on track (outside of that missed extra point last week), he might be in line to come up big in what's expected to be a close game.
Bailey is the reigning NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October, and now he might get a chance to come through in the clutch against his old team. To do it, he'll need the opportunity to overcome a crowd and coaching staff that booted him out of town, in addition to shaking the Vikings kicker curse that we all know is waiting to break our hearts in another big moment.
Declan Goff, BMTN Sports Writer
Road games are tough, and maybe this an uneducated response, but Cowboy Stadium doesn't strike fear in opponents the way most home venues do. This is a big game for Cousins and the Vikings' playoff chances. Even though I'm a fan of Dak Prescott and Dallas' offensive coordinator, my favorite college player of all time Kellen Moore, I predict the Vikings wax the Cowboys.
Final score: 28-10, Vikings.
Joe Nelson, BMTN Sports Director
Dallas can light up the scoreboard with the best of them (30+ points in five of eight games), but their defense hasn't been tested against many good quarterbacks. In fact, Dallas' wins are against Eli Manning, Case Keenum, Josh Rosen, Carson Wentz and Daniel Jones. Their losses are to Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Rodgers and (cough) Sam Darnold. Kirk Cousins is closer to the top of that list than the bottom, so I fully expect Cousins and Dalvin Cook to put up big numbers in a wild shootout.
Final score: 34-31, Vikings (Dan Bailey with the walk-off winner)
Chris Schad, BMTN Sports Writer
It doesn't seem that Cooper Rush is going to get into the game to foil Mike Zimmer's gameplan, so the Vikings have that going for them. The bad news? They'll be without Adam Thielen again and Linval Joseph won't be in the middle to stop Ezekiel Elliott. If there was a shortcoming in the Vikings' past offseason, it was refusing to address depth at wide receiver and defensive tackle, which might be their downfall on Sunday night.
Final score: 24-16, Cowboys
Blair Anderson, Vikings fan we let blog for us sometimes
Every time I'm optimistic about this team, they plant a firm kick between the legs. Last week, I wanted to believe this team was for real and then Kirk Cousins gets hammered before pregame. This week, Cousins walks into his version of Pandora's box with a prime-time game (6-13 record), against the Cowboys (1-6), under a retractable roof (1-4). There isn't enough Grain Belt in this world for me to bet on the Vikings, which probably means they're going to run the Cowboys out of Jerry World...so...
Final score: 31-24, Vikings (Kirk throws 4 TD)