MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford's pass sailed high out of the back of the end zone on a two-point attempt with 30 seconds left, and the Dallas Cowboys held on to beat the Vikings 17-15 Thursday night.
Bradford led an eight-play, 65-yard drive that began with just over two minutes remaining, pulling Minnesota within two points. However, he was pressured on the conversion attempt, and his desperation attempt to Adam Thielen in the back of the end zone was too high.
Dallas secured the ensuing onside kick.
Dez Bryant scored a fourth-quarter touchdown one play after the Cowboys' first takeaway since Oct. 30, and Dallas (11-1) won its 11th consecutive game to tie a franchise record.
Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott was bottled up by Minnesota's defense until a 30-yard run set up a 39-yard field goal by Dan Bailey with 4:20 left. Elliott finished with 86 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott completed 12 of 18 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Bryant finished with 84 yards on four receptions for Dallas, which can become the first team to clinch a playoff berth with a loss or tie by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or a loss by the Washington Redskins this weekend.
Bradford was 32 of 45 for 247 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota (6-6), which was playing without its head coach. Mike Zimmer underwent emergency eye surgery Wednesday night and was at home recovering. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was the interim head coach.
Bradford was 7 of 7 on the final drive and finished with a 3-yard touchdown pass to running back Jerick McKinnon.
The Vikings forced two turnovers by the Cowboys but could only turn them into three points. Dallas had only one other game this season with two turnovers.
Kai Forbath connected on three field goals for Minnesota, which lost for the sixth time in seven games.
With the Vikings' regular punt returner, Marcus Sherels, out for the game due to a rib injury, Thielen was back to field a fourth-quarter punt. Thielen fumbled as he was being taken to the ground and looked to get his hands on the football again.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett challenged the play, and officials ruled that Cowboys linebacker Kyle Wilber managed to pull the football away before Thielen controlled it, giving the Cowboys the ball at the 8-yard line. Bryant caught a quick receiver screen and beat cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the end zone for the touchdown to give Dallas a 14-9 lead with 10:22 to play.
Minnesota struck first as Forbath connected on a 48-yard field goal.
Dallas slowly started to control the game with its ball-control offense. But mistakes also doomed the Cowboys. A holding call wiped away a 43-yard run by Elliott. And then Lucky Whitehead fumbled after picking up a first down on an end-around.
Whitehead was hit from behind by Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen and Eric Kendricks scooped up the fumble. A hands-to-the-face penalty by Orlando Scandrick also negated an interception of Bradford.
Minnesota's offense couldn't capitalize, punting on the team's final three possessions of the first half. The Vikings had 126 yards of offense in the half and 37 on their final three drives.
Dallas just needed a couple of big plays to take over. On third-and-13, Prescott ran 14 yards for a first down. Four plays later, Prescott went deep to Bryant for a 56-yard reception. Bryant's move got him past safety Harrison Smith in zone coverage and he was brought down at the 1-yard line. Elliott scored on the next play.
NOTES: WR Stefon Diggs (knee) and CB Terence Newman (neck) each returned for Minnesota after missing last week's loss. The Vikings were without starting C Joe Berger (concussion) and PR Marcus Sherels (rib). ... Cowboys S Barry Church (forearm) returned after missing the past four games. CB Morris Claiborne (groin) missed his fifth straight game. Dallas' defense was also without fifth-leading tackler LB Justin Durant (hamstring) and S J.J. Wilcox (thigh). ... Ezekiel Elliott's 12th touchdown of the season tied him with Tony Dorsett for the must rushing touchdowns by a Cowboys rookie. ... Minnesota K Kai Forbath has converted all four of his field-goal attempts since replacing Blair Walsh. ... Dallas went two games without a turnover before Lucky Whitehead's fumble in the second quarter.