The Vikings have yet to reach a Super Bowl since they became a dome team in 1982, after reaching four from 1969 to 1976. They plan to move into a new stadium in 2012, but unfortunately will have a retractable roof. The Vikings of old gained an edge using the harsh Minnesota winters as an allie. The Cowboys are a week removed from their first playoff win since 1996, when they beat the Vikings.
What To Watch From The Cowboys
Dallas has been on fire defensively lately. Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer has been coming into his own, showing why Dallas drafted him in the first round in 2007. He had two sacks in last weeks win over the Philadelphia Eagles. His emergence allowed Pro Bowl outside linebacker Demarcus Ware get two sacks of his own as well. This duo poses a huge threat to the Vikings huge but lumbering offensive tackles.
Inside linebackers Keith Brooking and Bradie James are veterans who piled up 219 tackles combined this year. Their leadership is just as important as their production. If Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff can keep Minnesota's Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson occupied, then Dallas can use Brooking and James in exotic blitz packages to get to Favre as well as attempt to shut down the Vikings run game.
One thing the Vikings do know is Dallas will use their three excellent running backs often, but the key to this game may rest on the Cowboys passing attack. That part of their game hasn't always been consistent, but quarterback Tony Romo may be coming off his best season ever. He will need his Pro Bowlers, tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Miles Austin, to be big this week, and wide receiver Roy Williams could be a X-factor.
What To Watch From The Vikings
The Vikings come at opposing defenses with a balanced offensive attack that features a powerful running game. Adrian Peterson is a Pro Bowler and their best weapon. Veteran Chester Taylor is an excellent running back who once gained 1,000 yards in a season. The offensive line is built for the power game, which usually leads to post season success.
Bret Favre holds a lot of NFL records right now, and he may have just had the most efficient season of his illustrious career. The Canton bound Favre made the Pro Bowl because he became a huge weapon in just his first season in Minnesota.
Throwing to a tall wide receiver Sidney Rice, along with speedy receivers Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin, Favre has helped make them better players. He must curtail his penchant for turnovers if the Vikings want to get the first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
Harvin poses a double threat to Dallas. Not only is he to be accounted for on offense, but he is a dangerous return specialist. Dallas has had good special teams play for the most part this year, despite the fact they had woes at the placekicker position, but facing Harvin is a whole new animal. The 2009 Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowler could provide the Vikings an extra weapon this game that has the opportunity to lead them to victory.
Minnesota takes pride in their play along the line of scrimmage, especially along the defensive line. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams and Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen lead the way. Veteran defensive tackle Pat Williams is dinged up with an elbow injury right now, and his backup, veteran Jimmy Kennedy, is dealing with a thumb injury. If these men can not play up to their expected level, it could be a long day trying to stop the Cowboys vaunted running game.
Quarterback : Edge Vikings
Running Back : Even
Receivers : Even
Offensive Line : Slight Edge Cowboys
Defensive Line : Slight Edge Vikings
Linebacker : Definite Edge Cowboys
Secondary : Edge Cowboys
Special Teams : Definite Edge Vikings
Coaching : Slight Edge Vikings
The run game will be king for both teams. Both teams have inconsistent offensive lines and fairly stout defensive lines. Whatever success had through the passing game will be built from a solid rushing attack. The team that has to rely on the passing game most could have their season end earlier than they expected.
Vikings 30, Cowboys 24