Cooper Rush will lead the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night in Minneapolis.
The Cowboys officially ruled out quarterback Dak Prescott for their "Sunday Night Football" matchup against the Minnesota Vikings due to a calf strain he suffered two weeks ago.
Today’s inactives at the Minnesota Vikings: pic.twitter.com/stqPeVrGGp
— Dallas Cowboys Public Relations (@DallasCowboysPR) October 31, 2021
"We just feel like we should go with Cooper Rush today and let Dak heal," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said on 105.3 The Fan before the game. "He would have loved to have gone but these were conversations that were going on all week ... We feel like we were making the best decision for Dak."
Prescott suffered the calf strain at the end of their overtime win against the New England Patriots on Oct. 17, when he hit receiver CeeDee Lamb for a game-winning touchdown.
The Cowboys were off last week, which gave Prescott some time to recover. Though he was a near-full participant in practice this week, McCarthy insisted that the Cowboys weren't going to rush his return — especially since they're 5-1 on the season and hold a big lead in the NFC East.
"I think it's a clear decision, we don't want this to be a week-to-week situation, so until he clears that threshold to try to minimize the risk is really what the decision will come down to," McCarthy said on Wednesday.
So instead, Rush will get his first NFL start at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Rush has appeared in six games throughout his four seasons in the league for the Cowboys, but hasn't thrown a pass since his rookie season in 2017 or appeared in a game since 2019. Will Grier will serve as Rush's backup.
"This is what you work for as a player," Rush said Saturday, via ESPN. "This is what you want to do. You want to go out and play on Sunday. Your whole life you've been waiting to do it, and that's what you work hard for to prepare for. So it would mean a lot to go out there with my teammates and keep this thing rolling like we've been."