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Week 9 preview: Vikings vs Cowboys; Cook, Sanford ruled out

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Week nine of the NFL season features what could be a fun game in Dallas as the Vikings visit the Cowboys. Minnesota is in desperate need of a win and while the Cowboys are inching ahead in the struggling NFC East division.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: How good would a Texas-sized steak be right now? Oh. Wrong stake? Sorry. It's just that it's getting difficult to figure what's at stake on a weekly basis when the Vikings keep losing. As of now, jobs remain at stake, specifically the jobs of quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman. Leslie Frazier announced Friday that Ponder will get the start.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET: The Vikings got a late Ryan Longwell field goal to beat the Cowboys, 24-21 in October of 2010. Percy Harvin's 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half was the biggest play of the game.

PLAYER IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Chad Greenway needs two tackles to reach 1,000 for his career. He's also trying to chase down Erin Henderson for the team lead in tackles. If Greenway finishes the season with the most tackles he'll tie Scott Studwell as the only player in team history to lead the Vikings in tackles six straight seasons.

WHAT THE OTHER GUYS ARE SAYING: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is reportedly licking his chops at the opportunity to play the Vikings' passing defense. Minnesota ranks 31st in the NFL in opponent touchdown passes allowed (16).

INJURY REPORT: Chris Cook (hip), Jamarca Sanford (groin), Rhett Ellison (ankle), Fred Evans (knee) and Matt Asiata (shoulder) have been rule out. The Cowboys had just two key players on the injury report.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: This one still belongs to Jared Allen from Sunday's blowout loss to the Packers. Read his lips: "I've never played on a defense this bad in my life."

THE LATEST LINE, OUR PREDICTION: Dallas is favored by 10 to 11 1/2 points, according to the latest odds. That sounds about right to us. The Vikings have been getting blown out -- at home -- and now they have to go on the road to play a fired up Cowboys team. The Vikings will need a lot of defense in "Big D," but we don't see that happening. Cowboys 31, Vikings 17.

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