MINNEAPOLIS — Amari Cooper caught three passes, including a 5-yard touchdown, during Dallas' final possession, and the Cowboys claimed their only lead of the night in a 20-16 win on Sunday Night Football.
Minnesota was unable to protect a 16-13 edge after Cooper caught a ball that bounced off Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland for a gain of 33 on second-and-10. Cooper then caught an 18-yard reception a play later.
Despite the 51 yards allowed in two plays, the Vikings defense appeared as if it would be able to force a field goal by rallying to create a third-and-16 at the Minnesota 25-yard line.
A delay of game penalty was assessed to the defense, and Dallas was able to convert third-and-11 with a 15-yard pass to running back Ezekiel Elliott, who made multiple defenders miss on his way to the 5.
The Vikings got the ball back with no timeouts and 51 seconds remaining but couldn't advance it to midfield.
Cooper Rush, who had only attempted three career passes with one completion in 2017, started in place of Dak Prescott. Rush finished 24-of-40 passing with 325 yards and two scores. He was intercepted once and finished with a passer rating of 92.2.
Cooper led Dallas with eight catches for 122 yards. CeeDee Lamb added six catches for 112 yards, and Cedrick Wilson caught three passes for 84 yards, highlighted by his 73-yard touchdown. Wilson also completed a 35-yard pass to Lamb.
The Cowboys converted seven of 13 third downs, compared to a 1-for-13 showing by Minnesota.
Dallas gained 419 yards and limited Minnesota to 278.
Kirk Cousins finished 23-of-35 passing for 184 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 88.3.
Adam Thielen led Minnesota with six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Conklin added five catches for 57 yards. Justin Jefferson was limited to 21 yards on two catches and was banged up during the game.
Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter left the game with a shoulder injury.
The Vikings (3-4) visit the Ravens in Week 9.
Q1, 11:49 remaining
Vikings 7, Cowboys 0
Adam Thielen catches a 20-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Greg Joseph kicks PAT) [7 plays, 75 yards, 3:11 time of possession]
Sold out: The Vikings were able to build off a screen pass to Justin Jefferson earlier in the drive. Minnesota gave Dallas a similar look with Cousins pump faking and Thielen selling out that he was blocking before releasing on his route. Thielen found ample space amidst the confusion.
Q2, 6:09 remaining
Vikings 7, Cowboys 3
Greg Zuerlein kicks a 38-yard field goal [12 plays, 60 yards, 6:25 time of possession
Cooper connection: Almost half of the yardage of the possession was gained on a 29-yard pass from Cooper Rush to Amari Cooper on the second play of the drive.
Q2, 1:44 remaining
Vikings 10, Cowboys 3
Joseph kicks a 45-yard field goal [11 plays, 49 yards, 4:25 time of possession]
Second chance points: The Vikings possession was extended when Chauncey Golston was flagged for jumping offsides before Jordan Berry punted on fourth-and-5. Minnesota faced a fourth-and-1 three plays later and converted with a pass to Thielen that gained 32 yards to the Dallas 24-yard line.
Q3, 14:07 remaining
Vikings 10, Cowboys 10
Cedrick Wilson catches a 73-yard pass from Rush (Zuerlein kicks PAT) [3 plays, 75 yards, 0:53 time of possession]
Q3, 6:31 remaining
Vikings 13, Cowboys 10
Joseph kicks a 40-yard field goal [7 plays, 33 yards, 3:01 time of possession]
Right away: Minnesota capitalized with its best starting field position (so far) by opening the drive with an 18-yard completion to Justin Jefferson.
Q3, 0:04 remaining
Vikings 13, Cowboys 13
Zuerlein kicks a 39-yard field goal [5 plays, 51 yards, 2:07 time of possession]
Turning to trickery: Wilson caught a long lateral pass from Rush and kept the play alive to find CeeDee Lamb for a gain of 35.
Q4, 2:51 remaining
Vikings 16, Cowboys 13
Joseph kicks a 24-yard field goal [10 plays, 69 yards, 5:17 time of possession]
Triple penalties: The Cowboys were flagged three times during the drive. Tarell Basham was flagged for roughing the passer on an incompletion on second-and-2. Randy Gregory picked up a pair of unnecessary roughness penalties for extracurricular activity at the end of two runs by Dalvin Cook.
Q4, 0:51 remaining
Cowboys 20, Vikings 16
Cooper catches a 5-yard pass from Rush (Zuerlein kicks PAT) [8 plays, 75 yards, 2:00 time of possession]
Big grabs: Cooper recorded three catches for 56 yards on the winning drive.