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Gut Feeling

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Gut Feeling: Staff Picks For Cowboys-Vikings


The Cowboys have won five straight. The Vikings have won two in a row and both teams are coming off a bye week.

But there is no doubt that Kirk Cousins will be playing for the Vikings Sunday night. The Cowboys don't have the same luxury with their starting quarterback as Dak Prescott is shaping up to be a game-time decision.

The staff gives their 'gut feeling' for this Week 8 matchup between the Vikings and Cowboys.

Rob Phillips: This is a difficult matchup even if Dak Prescott, a legit MVP candidate, is the starting quarterback Sunday night. I was surprised to hear Mike McCarthy say the Vikings' new stadium is louder than the previous one. (To me, 'loudest place ever' is a tie between the old Metrodome and the Superdome.) Point is, it's a tough environment, and while the Cowboys did get a road win there last November, this year's Vikings offense is more balanced than last year. If Prescott plays and can function normally on his right calf, I'll take the Cowboys and continue to say what I've said for five weeks: Can they be outscored for a full 60 minutes? As the Patriots learned, no lead is safe. If Prescott doesn't play, the Cowboys have confidence in Cooper Rush, but the experience advantage obviously shifts to Kirk Cousins and Minnesota. As of Friday, we still don't know Dak's status, so my gut is written in pencil.

David Helman: I was nervous about this game before we found out Dak Prescott's status was up in the air. This Vikings offense is incredibly talented, Kirk Cousins is playing some of the best football of his career and Dalvin Cook used the bye week to rest his injured ankle. U.S. Bank Stadium is also one of the toughest environments in the NFL, and I'm sure it's going to be rowdy for the Vikings' first night game since before the pandemic. If he's available and ready to roll, Dak Prescott can absolutely walk into that building and guide the Cowboys to a win. It's just a lot to ask for with so many variables about his health. Even if he plays, can he be effective enough to force Minnesota to honor the pass? Or will that Vikings front key on the run and force either a hobbled Prescott or an inexperienced Cooper Rush to beat them? I hate to doubt Dak, because if there's anyone capable of pulling this off, it's him. It's just such a big ask, though. I've got Cousins throwing three touchdowns in a 27-23 Minnesota win.

Nick Eatman: I'm not sure how many times I picked the Cowboys during their 11-game winning streak in 2016, but I can imagine that I was waiting for the bottom to fall out at some point. Not that I don't believe the Cowboys are a good team, but I think they're due for a setback. And perhaps the Dak injury will be exactly that. As of (Friday), it's probably 50-50 that Dak plays but I think there's a very slim chance that he plays without any limitations. I think we'll see a quarterback that is hesitant about running and will get the ball out of his hands quick. Either way, I'm predicting the Vikings will be too strong and they'll make a lot of big plays from start to finish. Give me Minnesota and that horn, 27-23.

Kyle Youmans: This week's 'Gut Feeling' is as much a guess of who is playing quarterback for the Cowboys as it is a guess of the game. If Dak Prescott plays, Dallas has a great shot to win. But in my opinion, this is still the toughest matchup since the opener against Tampa Bay, regardless of who plays behind center. There will be losses this season (because 16-1 is a pipe dream) and this will be one of those. Vikings win a close one 30-27.

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