Marion Barber Back: What Does This Mean for the Minnesota Vikings?

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2010

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 21: Running back Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on December 27, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

According to ESPNDallas.com , Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber has returned to practice after being sidelined with a knee injury on Saturday night.

"God is good," proclaimed Barber after being questioned on how he felt leading up to the Cowboys matchup against the Vikings.

Although Barber is practicing without a knee brace, the Cowboys' staff believe that Barber doesn't need to be too quick to want to start in Sunday's game.  Backup running back Felix Jones is set to be the starter at this point, as today was the first day Barber had laced up his boots and participated in drills.

"He understands that, as far as getting his mind and body right," Cowboys' running backs coach Skip Peete said. "It's important for him to play. The last two times we've played in the Metrodome, he didn't play."

Barber is returning to his home town in Minnesota, where he also spent his years as a college player.  As excited as Barber is to get back to his hometown, he need not rush.  There will be future games where Barber is needed, and if insult is added to injury, it could be fatal to the Dallas run game that has been so good in recent weeks.

As for the Vikings, they now have a slight advantage.  Although there is the chance that Barber could still play a handful of drives in this game, they no longer have to deal with the two headed attack of Barber and Jones.  Neither is it a concern for screen passes, which the Cowboys have been so good at executing with Barber in the past.

Some concern was shown for the Vikings defensive line recently, but with No. 24 out, the Vikings have one less man to worry about.

This transition may also affect Tony Romo.  While he has had a hot hand as of late, he may not have the secure blocks that Marion Barber normally sets in place.  I'm not predicting sack after sack, but Romo may taste the turf more than once in this game.

The most important thing for Dallas it to keep their cool.  Rushing their offense is not an option.  With the possibility that Barber could come back, the Cowboys need to get on with what they know. 

As for Minnesota, they need to apply pressure quickly and effectively.  Slacking on the defense side of things will cost them the game, and that therefore leaves it all up to Favre.  Tackle Felix Jones often enough and the Cowboys will forget about the run game for the time being. 

Whether or not Barber comes in is a question, but don't be surprised if he only makes a rare appearance.  Felix Jones is the Cowboys' man this week, so let's sit back and see what he's got to offer.

Related

    Sanjay Lal Notes New Receiver 'Is Stepping Up Everyday'

    Dallas Cowboys logo
    Dallas Cowboys

    Sanjay Lal Notes New Receiver 'Is Stepping Up Everyday'

    Garrett Robertson
    via Cowboys Wire

    Roethlisberger: SB Wins Better Than Huge Contract

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Roethlisberger: SB Wins Better Than Huge Contract

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Brady on Deflategate: 'I Realized I Couldn't Win'

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Brady on Deflategate: 'I Realized I Couldn't Win'

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Dak Ready to Surprise a Lot of People

    Dallas Cowboys logo
    Dallas Cowboys

    Dak Ready to Surprise a Lot of People

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report