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Vikings fit to be tied

No one wins final preseason game

By Judd Zulgad

McClatchy Newspapers

IRVING, Texas -- This was a game only a coach could love.

While Brad Childress came away from the Vikings' 10-10 preseason tie with Dallas feeling he had gotten a valuable extra look at his team, his players didn't really relish a fifth quarter of football on a hot, muggy night in suburban Dallas.

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"Man, you never know, football is unpredictable," Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "But I thought for sure after they scored they would go for two."

They didn't.

The Cowboys kicked the extra point to tie the score with 17 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Winfield also probably thought the game would end twice in overtime, but free-agent kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed wide right from 33 and 32 yards, drawing a chorus of boos.

The fact the game kept going was just fine with Childress, whose team has 11 days off before opening the regular season Sept. 11 in Washington. Childress did reward his players with the next three days off.

"You got a chance to get a last impression of a bunch of guys," Childress said, referring to the fact the roster must be cut to the 53-man limit by Saturday. "Now beyond their wildest dreams they didn't expect to play an extra quarter. That's great for them. People may not have wanted to hang around, but those guys relish those reps and the more that you get the more they can get on tape."

It was the third preseason tie in Vikings history; the team also played to a 6-6 tie with Detroit in 1966 and a 14-14 tie at San Diego in 1975. The last time the Vikings were involved in a regular-season tie game was in November 1978, when they played to a 10-10 draw at Green Bay.

While the second- and third-teamers were around for the second half and overtime, Childress had his starters play most if not all of the first half. Usually starters see limited playing time in the final preseason game.

"It was great simulation of the heat were going to face in Washington on a September night," said Childress of the 94-degree game-time temperature. "Our starters played for a half. They need to take a little inventory and see when they got to come out and be able to play another half, where their conditioning level is. I have an idea, and I think they do too now."

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Receiver Terrell Owens' hamstring felt well enough for him to make his Cowboys debut, but he did not start and had only one catch for six yards in limited time.

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