The Dallas Cowboys will collide with the Minnesota Vikings for a Sunday night contest that has all the tools to provide a national audience with must-watch entertainment. Winners of five consecutive contests, Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys are currently as hot as any team in the NFL. As we approach Sunday’s match, all eyes remain on Cowboys star quarterback Dak Prescott, whose status is very much in doubt, per multiple reports both nationally and locally.
The longing to utilize Prescott against the Vikings will be strong as the Cowboys look to keep pace with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, and Green Bay Packers in the hunt for the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. McCarthy would be wise to assess the situation from all possible outcomes, and the necessity to ensure Prescott's health and availability for a potential playoff run should be the conclusion he ultimately reaches. Prescott should be inactive, and backup signal-caller Cooper Rush should start the game.
It's of the utmost importance that everyone involved approaches the situation with great caution. Prescott suffered a horrific season-ending ankle injury in 2020 and the Cowboys need to do everything in their power to avoid another injury setback as they look to claim a place in Super Bowl LVI. Dallas’ offense has been firing on all cylinders in 2021, moving the ball to the tune of 460.8 yards per contest and 34.2 points per game, both of which currently rank No. 1 in the league in their respective categories.
There is a path for the Cowboys to win this contest with Rush under center. The Vikings own an abysmal run defense that's allowing opponents to rush for 128 yards per contest. The formidable duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard more than possess the capabilities to further expose a unit that is performing at a disappointing clip. The Cowboys also hold the advantage in the turnover department. Their opportunistic defense owns an impressive plus-seven in the differential metric, whereas Minnesota has been much more pedestrian at plus-two.
If the Cowboys are going to capture their first Super Bowl title since 1995, it's with a healthy and ready Prescott at the helm. As McCarthy prepares to make a difficult decision regarding Prescott's availability, he would be wise to analyze the situation from a broader view.