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Sunday, August 28, 2011
Preseason: Vikings conjure Bernard Berrian

By Kevin Seifert

Reviewing Saturday's action at the Metrodome:

Dallas Cowboys 23, Minnesota Vikings 17

Preseason record: 1-2

Of interest: The Vikings first-team offense converted a touchdown for the first time this preseason when Donovan McNabb found receiver Bernard Berrian behind the defense for a 49-yard touchdown pass on their first possession. Berrian later caught a 15-yard pass in showing his first signs of life in more than a year. ... Most important for the offense: It controlled the line of scrimmage for a good portion of its stint against the Cowboys' first-team defense. Tailback Adrian Peterson rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries, possibly coinciding with the return of right guard Anthony Herrera. ... McNabb also connected on another nice downfield pass to receiver Michael Jenkins (26 yards). ... Defensively, the Vikings looked pretty vulnerable against Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who completed 15 of his 20 passes. Cornerback Antoine Winfield's right shoulder stinger was a scary, but apparently not long-term, sight. At this point, depth is a big concern. ... Place-kicker Ryan Longwell hit a 44-yard field goal, but was short from 52 and had a 47-yard attempt blocked and returned for a touchdown. ... No. 2 quarterback Joe Webb had a 36-yard scramble and also a 10-yard touchdown run, showing again why the Vikings should make room for him somewhere in their offense. But the flip side was that rookie Christian Ponder didn't get much work. Perhaps he will start the preseason finale Thursday.

Local coverage: Winfield and cornerback Chris Cook (hamstring) will be "fine," coach Leslie Frazier told reporters, according to Mark Craig of the Star Tribune. ... Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "The Vikings may have to put a 'help wanted' sign out on I-494 in front of Winter Park. 'Defensive Backs Inquire Within.'" ... Frazier on the Vikings' secondary, via Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com: "What I was encouraged by was when Chris was out there, when Cedric [Griffin] was out there, when 'Toine was out there, we held our own. That is really encouraging for our defense and for our team, because we're going to need those three guys to really play at a high level in order for our defense to play well. When they were there, I thought we held them in check." ... McNabb on the pass to Berrian, via Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: "I know everyone kind of thought we were going to kind of stay intermediate and kind of play it safe. But we've been trying to open up the offense. It really depends on what the defense is dictating for us." ... The Vikings worked hard to develop a rapport between McNabb and Berrian in practice last week, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave told Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune.

Up next: Thursday against Houston Texans