The Cowboys climbed back into the NFC East “race” — which has turned into a “race” of tortoises — with a 31-28 victory over the Vikings.

The Eagles lead the NFC East with a 3-6-1 record. The other three teams are 3-7. Dallas plays Washington on Thanksgiving Day.

The Vikings saw their three-game winning streak end, and, now at 4-6, face an even steeper climb to a playoff berth.

Andy Dalton found tight end Dalton Schultz wide open for a 2-yard touchdown with 1:37 remaining to cap an 11-play, 61-yard scoring drive. It was the Cowboys’ first victory since Dak Prescott‘s season-ending injury in Week 5.

The Cowboys had scored only 41 points during their four-game losing streak. They gained 378 yards, including 182 rushing, and scored 31 points in Dalton’s return. Dalton missed one game with a concussion and another with COVID-19.

Dalton went 22-of-32 for 203 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in his first win with Dallas.

Ezekiel Elliott had his first 100-yard game, going for 103 yards on 21 carries. He caught a 6-yard touchdown pass, making two catches for 11 yards. Tony Pollard had a 42-yard touchdown run and gained 60 rushing yards on five carries.

Rookie CeeDee Lamb made one of the catches of the season, stretching out for a spectacular 4-yard score.

Dalvin Cook, the league’s leading rusher, gained 115 yards and scored a touchdown on 27 carries. Adam Thielen caught eight passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, his 10th and 11th touchdowns this season. His first was a highlight reel one-handed grab.

Rookie Justin Jefferson caught three passes for 86 yards and a touchdown, and Kirk Cousins went 22-of-30 for 314 yards and three touchdowns.

It was not enough.

Cook and Cousins both lost fumbles that were forced by Donovan Wilson.

The Vikings got the ball back on their own 25 with 1:37 remaining, but gained only 4 yards before three consecutive incompletions ended their comeback chance.