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Vikings focused on putting ’embarrassing’ 40-3 home loss to Cowboys behind them

On Sunday, the Vikings didn’t show much of anything. They were outgained 458 yards to 183 by the Cowboys.

SPORTS-VIKINGS-FOCUSED-ON-PUTTING-EMBARRASSING-1-SP.jpg
Minnesota Vikings linebacker D.J. Wonnum looks up at the scoreboard late in the team's 40-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Minneapolis.
John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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MINNEAPOLIS -- On Sunday, pages were turned back in the Minnesota Vikings’ record book to Oct. 6, 1963. President Kennedy was in the White House then and the only current member of the Minnesota coaching staff alive was defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who was 6 and living in Akron, Ohio.

On that day, the Vikings were walloped 56-24 by the St. Louis Cardinals at Metropolitan Stadium. On Sunday, they were drilled 40-3 by the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium, their worst home loss since that ugly outing at the Met 59 years ago.

On Monday, the Vikings were still trying to come to grips with what happened in a game that was televised to much of the nation by CBS. Or at least it was until the network switched many viewers in the third quarter to the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game.

“It just sucks that we lost this bad,” receiver Justin Jefferson said. “I mean, if we just lost by three, seven, 10 points, it wouldn’t be as bad. … It’s just the fact that we lost by 37 points at home, so it’s just embarrassing, just being in that type of situation. We just didn’t play good in all phases, so that’s what really killed us.”

Vikings players went to the TCO Performance Center on Monday, where head coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the team. So what did he say?

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“The message is, we got our butt whipped,” Jefferson said. “That was the main message. I mean, we don’t like what happened, but we have a chance to move on faster than normal.”

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn drops a pass in the third quarter of Minnesota's 40-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Brace Hemmelgarn / USA Today Sports

That’s because the Vikings (8-2) play host to the New England Patriots (6-4) on Thursday night. The nationally televised game on Thanksgiving on NBC at least provides them with three less days of having to stew about Sunday’s debacle.

“It’s important to get that bad taste out of our mouth to say, ‘Hey, that wasn’t us,’ and to say again, ‘This is who we are. This is what we want to be moving forward, and this is what we need to do to win a game,’ ” wide receiver Adam Thielen said. “But I also think it’s going to show what type of character this team has.”

On Sunday, the Vikings didn’t show much of anything. They were outgained 458 yards to 183 by the Cowboys.

Cornerback Chandon Sullivan said the Vikings played “bad collectively, everybody.” But he sought to find a positive to come out of the rout.

“The funny thing about the NFL is it has a weird way of humbling you,” he said. “So I’m not going to say I’m glad we lost, but it was a punch in the face. We accept the challenge. We’re going to move forward. We’re going to learn from this.”

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked seven times by Dallas, his most sacks in any game in his 11-year career. Jefferson said Monday the Vikings needed to get “the ball out quicker” and he had wished they had “adjusted faster throughout the game” as pressure on Cousins continued with regularity.

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It didn’t help the Vikings that star left tackle Christian Darrisaw left the game with a concussion on the second play of the second quarter. He was replaced by Blake Brandel, who struggled. The Vikings already have ruled Darrisaw out against the Patriots, so they will continue to have to deal with his absence.

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“We definitely don’t like the way things turned out just losing by that much, just not having any energy in our stadium and not really giving fans (anything) to cheer about,” Jefferson said. “It’s all tough, but it’s something that we can fix. It’s things that we can look at on film and really fix. … That game was a disaster all around, so we’re just going to look at the tape and move forward and go on to the Patriots.”

Thielen said Monday afternoon he had yet to watch the tape of the game because he wanted to “decompress.” However, he was planning to see it later.

“I think everybody individually is looking themselves in the mirror right now and saying, ‘What can I do to be better and help this team perform better and help them win?’ ” Thielen said. “Luckily, we’re sitting at 8-2 and trying to figure that out.”

As for the 1963 Vikings, they went on to finish 5-8-1 in their third season as a franchise. The week after getting humiliated by the Cardinals, they didn’t win, but at least didn’t embarrass themselves in a 37-28 home loss to Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.

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