MINNEAPOLIS — A victory and chance at improving to .500 on the season slipped through the Vikings grips on Sunday evening.
Minnesota fell 31-28 to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Vikings defense allowed the Cowboys to drive 61 yards on 11 plays in 2:23 for a go-ahead score with just 1:37 remaining.
Minnesota, which had moved the ball on Dallas with aplomb all night, only managed 4 yards on its final possession, getting a completion to Cook.
That was followed by a drop on second down and a pair of incompletions that sent Dallas into victory formation.
Minnesota fell to 4-6 on the season, and Dallas improved to 3-7.
The possession that occurred before the Cowboys winning drive was equally frustrating.
It started with a 12-yard completion to Kyle Rudolph but was followed by a rush for no gain by Cook and another pair of incompletions.
Kirk Cousins completed 22 of 30 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns. His passer rating was 140.1.
Adam Thielen led all receivers with 123 yards on eight catches, which included two scores. They were his 35th and 36th career receiving touchdowns, breaking his tie with Ahmad Rashad for sixth-most in Vikings history (34 receptions). Justin Jefferson added 86 yards on three catches that included a 39-yard score to put Minnesota up 28-24.
Dalvin Cook rushed 27 times for 115 yards and a score to lead the Vikings. He passed the 1,000-yard mark for a second consecutive season.
Ezekiel Elliott rushed 21 times for 103 yards, and Tony Pollard added 60 yards on five carries, including a 42-yard touchdown.
Dallas racked up 180 rushing yards, and Andy Dalton completed 22 of 32 passes for 203 yards with three touchdowns.
Dalton was intercepted once on a diving snag by Eric Kendricks. He finished with a passer rating of 104.0.
The Vikings were flagged eight times for 80 yards, compared to four penalties for 30 yards on the Cowboys.
The costliest penalty occurred on a punt when Kris Boyd, who was lined up at the right gunner spot, shifted after the man across from him left him to try to block the punt. The infraction negated what would have been a 23-yard reception by Boyd on a pass from punter Britton Colquitt.
Q1, 9:26 remaining
Cowboys 6, Vikings 0
Ezekiel Elliott catches a 6-yard pass from Andy Dalton (Greg Zuerlein PAT blocked by Eric Wilson) [3 plays, 30 yards, 1:31 time of possession]
Points off turnover: The Cowboys took advantage of prime starting field position (the Minnesota 30-yard line) after a Donovan Wilson recovered a fumble during a sack of Kirk Cousins. Wilson hit Cousins' helmet during the play after DeMarcus Lawrence made first contact with the QB. Rookie CeeDee Lamb caught a 21-yarder to set up Elliott's score. The running back lined up in a trips formation and caught a screen.
Q1, 2:11 remaining
Vikings 7, Cowboys 6
Dalvin Cook rushes for 1 yard (Dan Bailey kicks PAT) [12 plays, 75 yards, 7:15 time of possession]
Strong second effort: Cook showed his determination a play after he was tackled with a hard stick by Leighton Vander Esch. He fought through contact from defensive tackle Antwaun Woods and Vander Esch and surged across the line for his 13th rushing score of the season. The play extended Cook's streak of consecutive home games with at least one touchdown to 10.
Q2, 4:55 remaining
Cowboys 13, Vikings 7
CeeDee Lamb catches a 4-yard pass from Dalton (Zuerlein kicks PAT) [9 plays, 52 yards, 5:01 time of possession]
On the Lamb: In addition to the highly acrobatic catch, the rookie receiver rushed for a gain of 6 to start the drive and converted a fourth-and-1 with another 6-yard gain on a sweep.
Q2, 0:02 remaining
Cowboys 16, Vikings 7
Zuerlein kicks a 19-yard field goal [5 plays, 47 yards, 0:47 time of possession]
Barely hanging with Mr. Cooper: Dalton connected with Amari Cooper on consecutive completions of 5, 10 and 32 yards on the first three plays of the drive that started after a Cook fumble forced by Wilson and returned 21 yards by Jaylon Smith. Harrison Smith saved a touchdown by tackling Cooper at the Minnesota 1-yard line to force the short field goal.
Q3, 9:50 remaining
Cowboys 16, Vikings 14
Thielen catches a 2-yard pass from Cousins (Bailey kicks PAT) [9 plays, 75 yards, 5:10 time of possession]
Long and short: Thielen delivered a 51-yard reception on the third play of the drive and capped it with his 10th touchdown catch of 2020. Thielen secured the score with only his right hand. It gave him 35 for his career, moving him past Ahmad Rashad for the sixth-most receiving scores by a Vikings player.
Q4, 14:57 remaining
Vikings 21, Cowboys 16
Thielen catches a 3-yard pass from Cousins (Bailey kicks PAT) [12 plays, 81 yards, 6:47 time of possession]
Steady gains: The score to Thielen, which improved his record for a season to 11, was the shortest play of the drive. Minnesota gained no less than 5 on any of the other 11 plays of the drive and overcame a penalty with a 20-yard completion to Justin Jefferson.
Q4, 12:02 remaining
Cowboys 24, Vikings 21
Tony Pollard runs for 42 yards (Lamb scores 2-point conversion on run) [5 plays, 75 yards, 2:55 time of possession]
Gashed twice: The Vikings allowed a 15-yard run by Ezekiel Elliott two plays before Pollard zipped through the line of scrimmage and won a footrace to the end zone.
Q4, 9:37 remaining
Vikings 28, Cowboys 24
Jefferson catches a 39-yard pass from Cousins (Bailey kicks PAT) [5 plays, 75 yards, 2:25 time of possession]
Chunk plays: Cook started the drive with a 16-yard run, and Thielen added a 13-yard catch on second-and-9 two plays before Cousins hit Jefferson in stride in the end zone.
Q4, 1:37 remaining
Cowboys 31, Vikings 28
Dalton Schultz catches a 2-yard pass from Dalton (Zuerlein kicks PAT) [11 plays, 61 yards, 2:23 time of possession]
Wide open: The Cowboys used misdirection by motioning Lamb to the right, and Schultz traveled to his left, finding a pasture of open space.
View game action images as the Vikings take on the Dallas Cowboys during Week 11.