In the absence of Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer, who was recovering from emergency eye surgery, Adam Thielen fumbled on a punt return, and then a controversial failed two-point conversion led the Vikings to fall to the Dallas Cowboys 17-15 in Minneapolis on Thursday night.

Dak prescott, Cowboys Beat Vikings 17-15 In Mike Zimmer’s Absence

It marked the Cowboys’ 11th straight victory. Dallas (11-1) trailed 9-7 early in the fourth quarter when the Vikings defense got its latest stop, forcing a Cowboys punt.

Officials ruled Thielen was down by contact on the return. However, Dallas coach Jason Garrett challenged and the call was overturned. Dallas took over at the Minnesota 8 and Dez Bryant took a quick-hit pass from Dak Prescott into the end zone on the following play to regain the lead.

The Vikings (6-6) defense made one more stop with 2:20 remaining, thanks to a successful challenge by interim coach Mike Priefer on a Prescott slide that fell short of the first down and a botched exchange. Minnesota’s offense drove with no timeouts for its first touchdown– a 3-yard TD to Jerick McKinnon. Priefer is the Vikings’ special teams coordinator.


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Nevertheless, right tackle Jeremiah Sirles took a false start on the two-point conversion, pushing back the attempt to the 7. Then, Sam Bradford’s pass flew high out of the end zone, the result of Cedric Thornton’s left hand slamming into the quarterback’s helmet. No penalty was called on Thornton, however.

Now the Cowboys can secure a playoff spot with either a Tampa Bay Buccaneers loss or tie or a Washington Redskins loss this weekend. Meanwhile, Minnesota– who have lost six of seven– may need to run the table to reach the postseason following a 5-0.

The Vikings defense forced two turnovers on Thursday, and held Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the rest of the Dallas offense in check most of the night, except for a 56-yard strike to Bryant on a double move that set up the first half’s only touchdown.

The next question for Minnesota now is: when does Zimmer return? General manager Rick Spielman said everything would be re-evaluated Friday. Zimmer, who first experienced vision problems a few days before the Vikings’ game in Chicago on Oct. 31, had his initial surgery on his right eye Nov. 1, and had another operation on Nov. 8.

Thursday’s game marked the first Zimmer has missed during his 23-year NFL coaching career.

The Vikings will next visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Dec. 11. The Cowboys will visit the New York Giants that day. The Giants handed Dallas their only loss of the season in Week 1.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 1: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys drops back to pass the ball in the first half of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

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