Turning Point: Red Zone Frenzies

E.J. Henderson

The Vikings defense preaches about creating a frenzy. While the defense allowed a half-dozen Dallas drives into the red zone, an opportunistic defense and missed opportunities by the Cowboys helped define a preseason tie.

The fact that the Vikings finished their game with Dallas in a 10-10 tie was an unfitting conclusion to a game that, prior to Dallas scoring in the final seconds of regulation, had been dominated by the Vikings defense in the first half, creating their own Turning Point of the Game.

The need for overtime could have been averted as the Vikings defense stepped up in a big way to maintain control of the game in the first half with all of the starters in the game, which wasn't to say the Cowboys didn't have their chances.

After the Vikings took a 7-0 lead a little more than one minute into the second quarter, the Cowboys mounted a drive of their own, thanks to a 48-yard kickoff return from Tyson Thompson that set Dallas up near midfield. After a pair of personal fouls on the Vikings got the Cowboys inside the 10-yard line, a pass attempt over the middle by Drew Bledsoe was thwarted by a strong pass rush from Kenechi Udeze. Udeze hit Bledsoe's arm as he began to throw and the ball wobbled into the air, where linebacker E.J. Henderson intercepted it to leave the Cowboys with nothing to show for their drive deep into Vikings territory.

On the next drive, backup QB Tony Romo drove the Cowboys to a first down on the Vikings 5-yard line in the final seconds of the first half. After a sweep was blown up by a strong tackle from Antoine Winfield, Romo was pressured into a pair of incompletions that forced the Cowboys to settle for a 22-yard field goal as time expired – sending the teams to halftime with the Vikings leading 7-3.

The miscues for Dallas continued in the second half, with another interception near the goal line by Ronyell Whitaker and two more trips into the red zone that ended with missed Mike Vanderjagt field goals.

While nobody considers a tie a positive, there is much more reason for Dallas to feel like they lost and for the Vikings to feel like they won. In all, the Cowboys got into the red zone six times. They came away with one touchdown, one field goal and four times came up empty. Those unfulfilled trips into the red zone turned the game … into a tie.

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