IRVIN OUT BEFORE IT STARTS
Cornerback Ken Irvin injured his right Achilles tendon in pregame warmups and was out for the game, probably longer. He will be evaluated Monday, but head coach Mike Tice seemed to indicate Irvin was out for the season.
Brian Williams got the start.
Irvin told VU it happened when he made a cut. He was carried off the field in the arms of his teammates.
Irvin, who showed up in the press box in the third quarter wearing a boot and using crutches, shook his head and said he didn't know what the prognosis will be.
"I'll know more [Monday]," he said, but it didn't look good.
To make matters worse, cornerback Rushen Jones suffered a bruised chest in the third quarter. His return was announced as questionable, but Jones returned to pick up an encroachment penalty on a punt return, making his return to the game less than stellar.
Besides the Irvin and Jones injuries, Jim Kleinsasser suffered a sprained right knee in the fourth quarter and Moe Williams had a sprained ankle. Both were out for the game, but that may have had as much to do with the score, 35-17 at the time, as the severity of the injuries.
Along with Jones, Williams and Kleinsasser are expected to play next week.
ANOTHER QB RECORD
Daunte Culpepper looked extremely sharp in the preaseason, and he continued his big plays in the opener. Culpepper had five touchdown passes, the third-best in Vikings history.
His 63-yard TD to Onterrio Smith was the third-longest pass play in the Vikings' opening-day history.
On his first kickoff, recently acquired kicker Morten Andersen, at 44 years old, booted the ball to the Dallas 2-yard line. His second kickoff went to the 6-yard line and his final kickoff of the first half was an onside job.
After the Vikings scored on the opening drive of the second half, Andersen kicked off to the 6-yard line and received a hit no 44-year-old deserves when Rashard Lee tried to run through him on his way to a 62-yard kickoff return.
After another third-quarter TD, Andersen's next kickoff, the one following his beating from Lee, went to the 3-yard line.
Kelly Campbell didn't help "the watch" when he was flagged for excessive celebration following his 43-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The meant Andersen had to kick off from the 15-yard line, at which point he kicked to the 30-yard line.
Andersen didn't attempt any field goals, but looked he looked OK, not spectacular, in the pregame warmups before the Dallas game. He missed two from 30 yards, but he was good on attempts from 38, 40, 43, 46 and 50 on one end and 25, 33 and 40 on the other end, using both hash marks.
ERROR OF THEIR WAYS
The Vikings had a chance for a 14-3 halftime lead despite being outgained 202 to 127 in passing yards to that point. However, a combination of a loose defense and a tactical error allowed Dallas right back in the game.
Following an impressive 15-play drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Robinson with 30 seconds left in the first half, the Vikings made a bad decision that got more attention with ineffective defense.
The Cowboys' passing game had found some rhythm at points during the first half, but the Vikings still elected for an onside kick, and when Dallas took over on its own 35-yard line it looked like quarterback Vinny Testaverde could throw his way into field goal position to end the half. After two completions of 15 and 18 yards, they were knocking on the door at the 32-yard line. A three-point possibility turned into seven points when quarterback Vinny Testaverde hit Terry Glenn for a 32-yard touchdown with five seconds left.
HOWRY DOESN'T RETURN
Wide receiver Keenan Howry was deactived. While Howry wouldn't be expected to see the field much on offense, his deactivation meant a new punt returner.
That replacement was Mewelde Moore.
Cornerback Brian Williams was questionable all week, but once Ken Irvin was injured in the pregame warmups there was little question Williams would start. He did that, and he carried some tremendously violent hits into the game.
In the second half, Williams leveled Antonio Bryant after a sideline catch. On the next drive, on consecutive plays he upended Keyshawn Johnson on an incompletion, then hammered him hard again on a reception. Williams' return to the playing field would indicate he's feeling better.
Word from the field before the game was that the Vikings could be receiving a competitive bid to buy the franchise sometime this week, according to a team source. That bid is expected to come from the Reggie Fowler-Denny Hecker group. Fowler is an Arizona businessman and Hecker is a Twin Cities car dealer.
The Vikings deactivated Shaun Hill (third QB), RB Michael Bennett, S Omare Lowe, T Nat Dorsey, G Adam Goldberg, WR Keenan Howry, TE Jeff Dugan and DT Spencer Johnson.
The Cowboys held out Drew Henson (third QB), RB Julius Jones, CB Bruce Thornton, G Ben Noll, T Jacob Rogers, WR Patrick Clayton, WR Randal Williams and DT Chris Cooper, who was added to the roster recently.
Dallas Highlights, Lowlights and Notes
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