Things got scary for the Vikings at the 3:19 mark of the first quarter of Saturday night’s 23-17 preseason loss to Dallas at Mall of America Field. Real scary.

Cornerback Antoine Winfield swooped in to make one of his usual solid tackles. The 5-9, 180-pounder was successful, using his right shoulder to stuff 6-6, 265-pound tight end Jason Witten for a 1-yard gain to the Vikings 19-yard line.

But a collective gasp could be felt when Winfield didn’t get up immediately. Trainers tended to Winfield, who got up and was laughing as he walked to the sideline. He didn’t return to the game for precautionary reasons.

“Antoine is going to be fine,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “If we had been in a regular-season game, he would have been right back out there.”

Cornerback Chris Cook also went to the sideline in the first half. He had an ice bag taped to his left hamstring.

“Chris is fine,” Frazier said. “Just got tight a little bit.”

Cedric Griffin, coming off two torn anterior cruciate ligaments over the past two seasons, saw his most extended action (27 snaps) of the preseason. After playing one series a week ago, Griffin played until the 3:38 mark of the second quarter and held his own as eight passes were thrown his way.

More injury updates

Also injured were backup running back Lorenzo Booker (back) and backup offensive lineman Chris DeGeare (concussion).

“It’s something with his back,” Frazier said of Booker. “I have to learn a little more” before knowing the seriousness of the injury.

Frazier said DeGeare suffered a mild concussion on the play where the Cowboys blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown.

A quick reversal

From Ryan Longwell’s perspective, it was just a great play by the other guy.

The Vikings were looking to extend a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter when Longwell lined up for a 47-yard field goal. But his kick was easily blocked by Gerald Sensabaugh, who rushed the middle and jumped. The block was ultimately recovered and returned for a touchdown by Dallas’ Alan Ball.

“A great play by Sensabaugh,” Longwell said. “He just did a good job of getting up, getting his hands up, getting to the ball.”

Longwell connected on a 44-yard field goal later in the first half, but he came up short on a 52-yarder in the third quarter.

Peterson’s busy day

The idea was to keep Adrian Peterson to 12 carries, according to offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. He wanted to monitor it so that Peterson was able to come out and see some action in the second half.

Turns out Peterson got 14 carries for 81 yards. That 5.8-yard average is a testament to the way Peterson was running.

“I felt good, man,” he said. “One thing we harped on was coming out and establishing our offensive line and being consistent. Those guys came in and did that.”

Herrera happy in return

The offensive line played well, as the Vikings averaged 6.5 yards on 27 carries and gave up only one sack of Donovan McNabb. Some stability was returned when right guard Anthony Herrera started for the first time since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

“I think everything went well,” said Herrera, who played into the second quarter. “There wasn’t that much dropoff. … Things are going in the right direction.”


• Sitting out were defensive tackle Kevin Williams (plantar fasciitis), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring), cornerback Asher Allen (toe), running back Toby Gerhart (Achilles’ tendon/ankle) and linebackers Ross Homan (concussion), Jasper Brinkley (hip), Heath Farwell (hamstring) and Kenny Onatolu (foot).

• Rookie defensive tackle Christian Ballard saw a lot of time with the first unit and had his second sack of the preseason.

• Joe Webb, playing with the second unit, played well after entering in the third quarter, going 2-for-4 for 66 yards. On third-and-5 from the 10, he eluded the Cowboys defense and scrambled for a touchdown.

• Rookie Christian Ponder made his home debut with 5:16 to play. He led the Vikings to the Dallas 16-yard line before time expired.