cowboys vikings player props picks
PHOTO CREDIT: CRAIG DUDEK

The Dallas Cowboys (5-1) and Minnesota Vikings (3-3), both fresh off a bye week, will meet at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday Night Football in Week 8. Dak Prescott’s status for this primetime showdown remains up in the air, but this game will feature loads of star talent regardless of whether or not he is under center.

Let’s take a look at this NFL Week 8 Sunday Night Football matchup with our best Cowboys vs. Vikings player props picks.

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Cowboys vs. Vikings Player Props

Tyler Conklin Longest Reception Over 15.5 Yards

On a Minnesota offense that seems to center so often around Dalvin Cook and the team’s two elite wide receivers, Tyler Conklin has carved out a nice little niche for himself. Conklin sits fourth on the team in targets (30), receptions (22), and receiving yards (240). He also averages more yards per catch than Adam Thielen, having produced three receptions of 20 or more yards already, including a season long of 40 yards.

Conklin has had a catch of 14 yards or longer in five of the team’s six games, hauling in one long enough to cash this prop bet in four of those outings. Interestingly, the two teams against which he failed to pull one down long enough to win this prop, Arizona and Cleveland, happen to be the NFL’s third and sixth best pass defenses, respectively.

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Dallas is nowhere close to the league’s top ten against the pass, currently sitting No. 28 while allowing 295 yards per game through the air. The Cowboys seem to regularly let tight ends get loose for at least one big play. Four of the six primary tight ends they’ve faced thus far have caught a ball long enough to cash this player prop.

Notably, the tight ends for the two teams who did not, the Panthers and Chargers, all have less catches on the season than Conklin.

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Conklin finished the 2020 season by catching a pass of 15 or more yards in three of the final four games in which he played. With Dallas getting thrown against the eighth most in the league (38.2 attempts per game), and given the attention paid to Cook, Thielen, and Justin Jefferson, we should once again see Conklin sneak down field for at least one long catch.

Kirk Cousins Longest Completion Over 38.5 Yards

Someone is going to need to deliver that deep ball to Conklin, and Kirk Cousins is the guy to do it. The Vikings starting quarterback currently sits fourth in the league in pass attempts per game (39.8) and tied for second in completions per game (27.7). He will be facing a Dallas pass defense that, as mentioned, has had its opponents throw against it more than all but seven other teams.

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The Cowboys give up 295 yards per game through the air, fifth-worst in football, and they allow 11.8 yards per catch, the seventh-worst mark in the league. A hefty chunk of that comes from all the big plays they concede in the passing game. Dallas has allowed 17 different receivers to haul in a catch of 20 yards or longer already this season through six games (with another three guys pulling down 19 yard catches.

More specifically related to our prop wager here, the Cowboys have also given up a 38-yard catch or longer in all six games. Seven wide receivers and a tight end have all accomplished that feat, and the Vikings have the weapons at both positions to do so tonight.

Cousins regularly looks downfield this season, too, which aids our cause even more. He is in the top half of the league in terms of yards per pass attempt and has completed a 28 yard pass or longer in every single game this season.

Last season, he had eight games where he would have cashed this prop bet, despite not getting to play against the NFL’s No. 28 ranked pass defense every week like he will be in this one.

With any luck, Cousins and Conklin will cash each of these first two prop picks on the same play.

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Adam Thielen Anytime Touchdown Scorer

Adding to the many and varied issues facing this Dallas pass defense is a complete inability to keep opposing wide receivers out of the end zone this season. That may seem a bit surprising given all of the media fanfare surrounding Trevon Diggs’ amazing interception streak, but this fact just reinforces how poor the team is against the pass.

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The Cowboys have allowed at least one passing touchdown in each game this season, giving up 12 already through the air through six games. Seven of those have gone to wide receivers, something Minnesota is chock full of from a talent perspective.

Kirk Cousins has thrown 13 touchdown passes already in six games, accounting for all but two of the team’s offensive scores. Ten of those scores went to wide receivers, including four games with multiple touchdowns hauled in by Minnesota wideouts.

Adam Thielen is the team’s second leading receiver in targets, receptions, and yards behind Justin Jefferson. As such, Jefferson will likely draw Diggs in coverage, leaving the rest of the tragic Dallas pass defense vulnerable.

What Thielen is not second on the team in is receiving touchdowns. That’s because he leads the team with five catches for scores, tied for eighth most in the league.

Those five scores came across four different games this season, meaning he has cashed this prop 67 percent of the time this season. He scored in the team’s last game, while also tallying season highs in catches (11), targets (13), and yards (126), setting him up for another big outing here.

Remember, Thielen had 14 touchdown catches last season, fourth most in the league. He scored in 10 of the 15 games in which he played last season, matching that 67 percent figure.

One of those outings was against this Dallas team when Thielen caught eight of 11 targets for a season high 123 yards and two touchdowns. And, that was in a 2020 season in which Dallas was 11th best against the pass. Imagine what Thielen can do here against their No. 28 ranked unit.

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