Cowboys backups beat Vikings reserves

Terrell Owens and freshly reinstated Adam “Pacman” Jones didn’t even bother to put on their football pants.

T.O. wore warmup pants and Jones was in shorts while watching from the sideline with the rest of the Dallas starters Thursday night as the Cowboys beat Minnesota 16-10 in a preseason finale that amounted to a glorified tryout for both teams.

Aside from the kickers, the Vikings didn’t play a single starter and the only likely starter for the Cowboys on the field was fullback Deon Anderson.

Rookie running back Tashard Choice, a fourth-round draft pick, solidified his chance of making the Cowboys roster with an 11-yard touchdown run and Nick Folk kicked two 52-yard field goals and a 23-yarder.

John David Booty, the fifth-round draft pick from Southern California competing to be Minnesota’s third quarterback, started and threw an interception on his first pass. He played the entire first half, going 8-of-15 for 93 yards.

Brooks Bollinger, the veteran backup who Booty is battling for the roster spot, was 6-of-18 for 62 yards. Vikings starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had a baseball cap on before the game even started, and primary backup Gus Frerotte didn’t play either.

Jones, acquired by Dallas from Tennessee in April, found out earlier Thursday that he had been fully reinstated from his NFL suspension and was clear to play in the regular season. The Sept. 7 opener at Cleveland will be his first NFL game since Dec. 31, 2006.

The cornerback-kick returner, who played in the first three preseason games for the Cowboys, missed all last season with the Titans after his suspension that followed an accumulation of arrests and legal problems.

Owens and Patrick Crayton, the Cowboys’ top two receivers didn’t play, but expected No. 3 Sam Hurd did and sprained his left ankle on the opening drive of the game. He got hurt when he landed awkwardly after being tackled from behind.

Receivers Miles Austin (sprained right knee) and Isaiah Stanback (dislocated shoulder) were already out with injuries. Austin could be out another month, and Stanback is questionable for the opener.

On Minnesota’s second play, after Folk’s short field goal, linebacker Tyson Smith stepped in front of intended receiver Bobby Wade and picked off Booty’s pass to set up Dallas at the Vikings 24.

Richard Bartel threw a 13-yard pass to Anderson before Choice swept right, broke one tackle just past the line of scrimmage and then bulled over another defender going into the end zone for a 10-0 lead.

Bartel, a practice squad member last season when Tony Romo and Brad Johnson were the only quarterbacks on the Dallas roster, played the entire game. He finished 28-of-41 for 233 yards and got to kneel down on three straight plays to run out the clock.

Minnesota’s only TD came on a 1-yard run by Maurice Hicks early in the second quarter. Ryan Longwell kicked a 25-yard field goal.


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