Is 53 yards too long for Longwell?

MINNEAPOLIS -- My immediate reaction when Minnesota eschewed a 53-yard field goal attempt to punt here in the latter stages of the third quarter: Mistake.

Ryan Longwell has been on target all season long and was a first alternate for the Pro Bowl. The Vikings had a chance to make this a three-score game, and punter Chris Kluwe isn’t always the most reliable directional kicker.

But like everything else the Vikings have tried Sunday, the decision caused no immediate damage. Kluwe’s punt went out of bounds at the 2-yard line. The Vikings' defense overwhelmed the Cowboys, forcing a punt. And after about a minute of game time, the Vikings have the ball back near midfield.

It’s still 17-3 here with 3:57 left in the third quarter. The Vikings' offense has bogged down, perhaps fearful of a mistake that could get the Cowboys back in the game, but they remain two scores ahead.