MINNEAPOLIS // After another uninspired first half, the Minnesota Vikings were looking for a spark.
They got it from Percy Harvin, who returned the second-half kick off 95 yards for a touchdown, and the Vikings went on to a 24-21 victory over the reeling Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
"We were desperate. You heard the 'panic' word all week," said EJ Henderson, who had two interceptions to help Minnesota improve to 2-3. The Cowboys might be hearing that same word after falling to 1-4. They had 11 penalties for 91 yards, and the strategy on offence and defence seemed out of sync.
"We beat ourselves one more time," Roy Williams, the wide receiver, said. "How many times are we going to do it?"
Brett Favre, the Vikings quarterback, had a cortisone injection earlier in the week that helped his ailing elbow feel better, but he took several big hits from a fierce Dallas rush.
"We're paying him enough a game. He's going to get hit," Brad Childress, the Vikings coach, said.
Favre finished 14 of 19 for 118 yards, one touchdown and one turnover. A fumble in the first quarter was charged to Favre - his 11th turnover this season - but Childress blamed Adrian Peterson, the running back, for not closing his arms around the ball.
Still, Favre looked skittish at times and was hit on eight of his first 10 dropbacks, taking three sacks. One of them lost 12 yards on third-and-seven at the Dallas 30, pushing the Vikings out of field-goal range.
The Vikings trailed 14-7 at half time, but Harvin's huge return and a one-yard touchdown run by Peterson put them ahead 21-14, and the defence did enough to preserve an important victory.
Seattle 23, Chicago 20
Miami 23, Green Bay 20, OT
Houston 35, Kansas City 31
Pittsburgh 28, Cleveland 10
St Louis 20, San Diego 17
NY Giants 28, Detroit 20
New England 23, Baltimore 20
Philadelphia 31, Atlanta 17
New Orleans 31, Tampa Bay 6
NY Jets 24, Denver 20
San Francisco 17, Oakland 9
Minnesota 24, Dallas 21
Indianapolis 27, Washington 24
• Kevin Kolb, Eagles: 23-of-29 passing, 326 yards, three touchdowns
• Aaron Rodgers, Packers: 18-of-33 passing, 313 yards
• Chris Ivory, Saints: 15 carries, 158 yards
• Frank Gore, 49ers: 25 carries, 149 yards
• Jeremy Maclin, Eagles: seven catches, 159 yards, 2 touchdowns
• Jerod Mayo, Patriots: 11 solo tackles, seven assists