To say that the Dallas Cowboys run defense is a bit of an enigma through the first half of the 2019 season is probably an understatement. We've seen them allow Running Back Aaron Jones to run all over them in Week 5, but we also just saw them completely neutralize RB Saquon Barkley on Monday Night Football. So, how will they fare with the NFL's leading rusher coming to town in Week 10?
You may or may not be aware of it, but Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook is currently leading the NFL in rushing yards (894). He has been virtually unstoppable as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield this season and will provide yet another tough test for the Cowboys defense this week. Are they up to the challenge yet again?
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a game in which they pretty much completely neutralized arguably one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the NFL. They only allowed Saquon Barkley to gain a measly 28 yards on the ground on 14 carries last week, which will hopefully be a confidence booster that allows them to do the same with Dalvin Cook.
As good as the Vikings RB has been this season, the Dallas Cowboys might have a slight advantage that helps them shutdown Minnesota's running game. No offense to Sean Lee, but the return of Leighton Vander Esch will be an improvement to the Cowboys run D, as will having home-field advantage. Although, home-field advantage didn't help much when Aaron Jones came to town.
We all know the best way for the Dallas Cowboys to secure a victory is to put the game in QB Kirk Cousins hands by containing Dalvin Cook and the Vikings running game. That's going to be the game plan for the Cowboys heading into this matchup, much like it was against the New York Giants last week. It worked then and there's no reason to believe it won't work again.
The Minnesota Vikings may have a better offensive line than the Giants do right now, but I don't think they're that much better. That's why I believe the Cowboys new and improved defensive front after the addition of Michael Bennett should be able to pick up where they left off last week in New York, especially with the hometown crowd rooting them on.
Now, containing Dalvin Cook will be no easy task for the Cowboys run defense. But, they have all of the pieces in place to do just that. The only thing left to do is to go out and execute, which at times this season has been their downfall. Consistency is key here and hopefully they can build off of what they were able to do last week.