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Mailbag: What Was The Difference Up Front?

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Both the Cowboys and the Vikings came into the game looking to stop the run, namely, Zeke and Dalvin Cook. The Vikings were able to accomplish this and the Cowboys weren't. Why? - FRED LONDON / MORRISTOWN, TN

Bryan: Early in the game the Cowboys did a great job of handling things at the point of attack. As the game wore on their stoutness at those spots were taken away. To play good run defense you have to defeat blocks and get to the ball. This had nothing to do with an aggressive Cowboys front but more about their inability to continue to win at the point. The Vikings were more physical, while the Cowboys allowed them to be.

Rob: The Vikings’ performance on defense reminded me of Cowboys-Saints a few weeks ago. Minnesota didn’t necessarily sell out the entire game to stop Zeke. They won a lot with their defensive line, allowing the linebackers to step up and make plays. Elliott just didn’t have anywhere to go on some of those runs.

Watching from home and seeing how the Vikings offense gashed the Cowboys early indicated to me the Vikings had a very good game plan. Can you honestly say they have more talent or was this just a better game plan by the Vikings’ staff? - BILL SNYDER / MILLERSVILLE, MD

Bryan: Well-executed game plan, but give their players a ton of credit. Other than Cook, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph I can’t say that their talent is much better. They did a great job of physically beating the Cowboys up across the front lines and made enough plays in the passing game, especially on critical third downs.

Rob: The Vikings deserve credit, for sure, but I don’t think they did anything offensively that truly surprised the Cowboys. They’ve relied on Dalvin Cook in the run and screen game all season. Just did a better job making plays Sunday. The tackling wasn’t consistent, and when you’re an aggressive defense like Dallas, those screens can work against you if you don’t stay home on them.

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