ARLINGTON, Texas — Whew, breathe deeply in the Heart of Texas.
Jayron Kearse intercepted Dak Prescott’s Hail Mary in the end zone as time expired to seal a 28-24 Vikings win over the Cowboys. The 6-foot-4 safety won the jump ball in a crowd that gathered down the right sideline.
It was Minnesota’s first win at Dallas since Nov. 23, 2000, and anything but easy.
The Vikings twice withstood scoring opportunities by the Cowboys in the final minute for a thrilling victory on Sunday Night Football.
Eric Kendricks’ outstretched hand denied a Dallas pass intended for Ezekiel Elliott on a fourth-and-5 from the Minnesota 14.
The key pass breakup gave Minnesota the ball with 40 seconds remaining, but Minnesota was unable to run out the clock and forced to punt with 17 seconds remaining.
Dalvin Cook bobbled a toss from Kirk Cousins but recovered it for a loss of 3 that could have been much worse.
Britton Colquitt punted a 44-yarder that was fair caught at the Dallas 46. The Cowboys advanced to the Vikings 45-yard line for one last gasp.
A Minnesota defense that struggled to get Dallas off its home turf repeatedly on fourth down found answers late in the game.
The Vikings bottlenecked Elliott for no gain on a second-and-2, and Ifeadi Odenigbo tackled the running back for a 3-yard loss to set up the fourth.
The Cowboys outgained the Vikings 443 to 364 on the night, converting a whopping nine of 15 tries on third downs. The Vikings went 8-for-14 on the often pivotal down and outrushed the Cowboys 153 to 50.
Kirk Cousins completed 23 of 32 passes for 220 yards with two scores and a passer rating of 111.5.
Prescott finished 28 of 46 for 397 yards with three touchdowns and a passer rating of 101.4.
Dalvin Cook led Minnesota with 97 rushing yards on 26 carries and scored the decisive touchdown late in the third quarter. Cook also led Minnesota with 86 receiving yards on seven catches.
Stefon Diggs added 49 yards on three receptions, and Kyle Rudolph caught two touchdowns and a critical 2-point conversion after Cook’s scoring run.
Minnesota improved to 7-3 on the season.
Q1, 9:25 remaining
Vikings 7, Cowboys 0
Kyle Rudolph catches a 1-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Dan Bailey kicks PAT) [5 plays, 53 yards, 2:38 time of possession]
One hand, two feet: Cousins wisely put the ball where only Rudolph could reach. He outstretched his right paw and got both feet down in bounds for the score to finish a drive that was helped with a 27-yard catch-and-run by Dalvin Cook and a 10-yard (half the distance to the goal) facemask penalty.
Q1, 0:32 remaining
Vikings 14, Cowboys 0
Rudolph catches a 1-yard pass from Cousins (Bailey kicks PAT) [13 plays, 90 yards, 6:19 time of possession]
Converting thirds: The Vikings were 4-for-4 on third downs during the drive. Minnesota converted a third-and-5 with an 11-yard pass to Stefon Diggs, a third-and-4 with a 10-yard pass to Laquon Treadwell, a third-and-1 with a 2-yard run by Cook before the score on third-and-goal.
Q2, 8:08 remaining
Vikings 14, Cowboys 7
Michael Gallup catches a 23-yard pass from Dak Prescott (Brett Maher kicks PAT) [5 plays, 48 yards, 2:32 time of possession]
Key conversion: The throw of the drive occurred when Prescott placed the ball down the right sideline over Mike Hughes, allowing Amari Cooper to reel it in with both feet in bounds.
Q2, 1:54 remaining
Vikings 14, Cowboys 14
Randall Cobb catches a 22-yard pass from Prescott (Maher kicks PAT) [11 plays, 83 yards, 4:39 time of possession]
Extending drives: Prescott’s mobility allowed Dallas to extend plays, and the QB found receivers multiple times. He was 4-of-6 passing for 75 yards on the drive.
Q2, 0:00 remaining
Vikings 17, Cowboys 14
Bailey kicks a 26-yard field goal [9 plays, 67 yards, 1:54 time of possession]
Big adjustment: Diggs made a brilliant adjustment on a deep pass for a gain of 27. The play was initially ruled incomplete, but officials reviewed and reversed the call.
Q3, 9:38 remaining
Vikings 20, Cowboys 14
Bailey kicks a 27-yard field goal [12 plays, 66 yards, 5:25 time of possession]
Bang-bang plays: Cook had runs of 7 and 23 yards to bookend a 10-yard catch by Johnson as the Vikings went from their 37 to the Cowboys 30 in three plays.
Q3, 7:01 remaining
Cowboys 21, Vikings 20
Cooper catches a 12-yard pass from Prescott [7 plays, 75 yards, 2:37 time of possession]
3 dozen: The Cowboys gained 12 yards on three separate pass plays during the drive.
Q3, 0:02 remaining
Vikings 28, Cowboys 21
Cook runs for a 2-yard touchdown (Rudolph catches conversion pass from Cousins) [13 plays, 75 yards, 6:59]
Pounding the beef: The Vikings ran the ball for 10 consecutive plays to gain the final 56 yards after a key third-down conversion by Cousins with a pass to Bisi Johnson.
Q4, 10:00 remaining
Vikings 28, Cowboys 24
Maher kicks a 23-yard field goal [13 plays, 70 yards, 5:02 time of possession]
Big-time stop: The Vikings were able to force the field goal after a holding penalty against Harrison Smith negated a 15-yard sack by Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen. Instead of facing fourth-and-20 from midfield, Dallas was awarded first-and-10 at the 30 and got a 24-yard pass two plays later.