No doubt Cowboy fans feel like Dallas should have won this game, and they blew it through their own errors.1 And you know what: they're right. Any head-to-head competition features partly, the winner taking it, and partly, the loser giving it away.2 This game featured a lot of Dallas giving the game away.3
But the Vikings also took that win. Dallas came in with a strategy to negate and neutralize the Viking pass rush: they threw a lot of quick, short passes and a lot of screens. The Vikings, for the most part, did an excellent job tackling. Dallas pass catchers were in position to make plays by running after the catch, but Viking defenders regularly brought them down before they could.
Kudos to Henderson, whose two interceptions helped very much to lead to 10 Viking points today. The first was on a fluky tip, but Henderson was aware and agile enough to come down with the ball (it's not like we haven't seen Viking defenders miss that ball before). The second interception, the one that led to the Vikings go-ahead field goal, was a thing of beauty. Henderson went forward like he was rushing, but then dropped back into coverage. Tony Romo saw the gap behind Henderson and threw the ball to what should have been an open receiver, not expecting Henderson to be there, but Henderson had dropped quickly and made a wonderful play on the ball. This was one of Henderson's finest moments as a Viking, I think.
Start the second half out down seven. Or, get a giant kick return, and essentially start the second half of the game tied with a team and crowd energized. When Percy Harvin opened the second half with a kick return for a touchdown, he changed the game concretely and abstractly. Instead of a flat team trying to catch up, the Vikings were an electric team playing dead-even.
This was the most satisfying Viking game in nine months. The Bears and Packers both lost three point games today. Problems? Sure. The offensive line can't do much boasting about its performance today, and the weaknesses in the secondary certainly aren't promising to get better. But I'm taking every Viking W for what it is now, a moment of unmitigated joy. I'll save tomorrow's worries for tomorrow: today, the Vikings win, and we have joyous clouds of heaven.
1. I can imagine this is how they feel, because it's how Viking fans have felt at least twice this year.
2. And partly hazard.
3. it wouldn't surprise me if Cowboy fans are also upset about the officiating, though on that point I would not agree: I saw very few unearned penalties for either team today.