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#DALvsMIN Injury Report: Big Return for Cowboys, Bad Loss for Vikings

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - PHOTO: Barry Church Grew Up A Dallas Cowboys Fan

The Cowboys are marching closer to clinching a playoff spot, division title, and perhaps greater rewards. The Vikings are looking to stay afloat in the NFC North and playoff picture over all. As these two teams face off tonight, here's a quick look at the injury situations for both teams.

The following is based on the teams' final Wednesday practices:

DNP - Did Not Practice
LP - Limited Participant
OUT - Already Ruled Out

Cowboys Headlines - Film Review: Cowboys Linebacker Justin Durant

AP Photo/Kevin Terrell

Dallas Cowboys

  • OT Tyron Smith (back/hip) - LP
  • OT Chaz Green (back) - OUT
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence (back) - LP
  • DE Jack Crawford (foot) - LP
  • DT Terrell McClain (thigh) - LP
  • LB Justin Durant (hamstring) - OUT
  • CB Morris Claiborne (groin) - OUT
  • SS Barry Church (forearm) - LP
  • SS J.J. Wilcox (thigh) - OUT

The biggest news here is that safety Barry Church will be returning to duty from his broken forearm. It's a timely return as J.J. Wilcox will now be out. With Minnesota always leaning on their passing game for offensive hope, getting Church back is big for the Cowboys' struggling pass defense.

Names like Tyron Smith and DeMarcus Lawrence are going to be here every week with nagging injuries. They have nagging issues which won't keep them out of games but will limit their practice participation likely through the season.

It's unfortunate to be without linebacker Justin Durant for this game. He's primarily been playing in passing situations alongside Sean Lee, so he will be missed as the Vikings look to exploit Dallas through the air.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Cowboys Headlines - #DALvsMIN Injury Report:

    Pioneer Press: John Autey

    C Joe Berger (concussion) - OUT

  • DT Shariff Floyd (knee) - OUT
  • CB Marcus Sherels (rib) - OUT
  • CB Mackensie Alexander (groin) - LP

The loss of their starting center is huge for Minnesota. Berger, who had a brief backup role in Dallas from 2006-2007, has started every game since Week 8 of the 2014 season. The Vikings already have the league's worst rushing offense, so this injury hurts a lot.

It's worth mentioning the horrible time that Minnesota's had with offensive tackles. Veterans Matt Kalil, Andre Smith, and Jake Long have all found their way to injured reserve during the year. The Vikings are already surrendering over two sacks per game, which will now be compounded by the loss of Joe Berger. If the Cowboys can't gets sacks against this team, then they never will.

The defensive injuries aren't critical.  Shariff Floyd, the former 2013 first-round pick, is still just a backup. Neither of the injured cornerbacks are in the top four of Minnesota's CB depth chart.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space

Sean Martin



Travis Frederick

Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.

Jane Slater on Twitter

C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed

Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.

Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.

Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.

With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Cowboys Place 2nd Round RFA Tender on DL David Irving

Jess Haynie



David Irving

One of the more anticipated Cowboys free agency moves has finally happened. Defensive lineman David Irving has been given the 2nd-round Restricted Free Agent tender, which would result in a $2.91 million contract for 2018.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: the Cowboys have used a 2nd round tender on DT David Irving. The cost is $2.91 million.

If another team offers Irving a contract, that would have to send their 2018 second-round draft pick to the Cowboys.

There was no doubt that Dallas would extend an RFA tender to Irving, one of the bright young stars on their defense. The question was at what amount; they could have gone with the $4.1 million tender which raises the compensation to a first-round draft pick.

With a difference of only about $1 million, some might argue that the Cowboys went lower to entice other teams to try to sign Irving. Perhaps they don't foresee giving him a big long-term deal next year, so want to get something for him now.

It's a logical argument, and one that means there may be more to this story before the offseason ends. For now, though, David Irving's closer to remaining a Cowboy than he was yesterday.

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