Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress was still steamed even 20 minutes after his team wrapped up the preseason against Dallas on Friday night.
After watching Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty each throw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in a 35-31 loss to the Cowboys, the typically flat-lined coach let loose.
"At times it was embarrassing," Childress said. "I'll end up putting that on myself, not having them ready to come out of the locker room at halftime. All the quarterbacks I've ever coached have some regard for the football and you can't throw it to them."
That's not what Rosenfels or Booty wanted to hear less than 24 hours before final cuts were due on Saturday. They were likely competing with Tarvaris Jackson for two roster spots behind Brett Favre.
Jackson may have played himself onto the roster simply by not making a big mistake. He was 2 for 4 for 42 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Dugan, in about a quarter and a half of work.
"I'd love to be here, it's the only thing I know and I've been here for going on my fourth year," Jackson said. "If I stay here, I'd love it. But I understand that it's a business. I'm not going be mad or cry over spilled milk, I'm just going to move on."
Rosenfels went 7 for 15 for 115 yards. Booty was 7 for 13 for 85 yards. On back-to-back plays in the third quarter Rosenfels and Booty threw interceptions that the Cowboys returned for scores, infuriating the head coach.
Childress yanked Rosenfels after Patrick Watkins scored on a 23-yard interception return. But he was in again one pass later when Steve Octavien returned Booty's interception 44 yards for a score.
"It always seems like you want to take back one play and I wish I could take that one back," Rosenfels said. "It was just a bad play by me."
Favre and the rest of the Vikings starters did not play in the game, even though the 39-year-old quarterback hopped a flight from Mississippi to Minneapolis to join the Vikings just 17 days ago.
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips rested Tony Romo and most of his regular starters, and it showed. Dallas turned over the ball four times, leading to 21 Minnesota points.
"Some are going to say it's not pretty and it wasn't," Phillips said.
Jon Kitna started and was 9 of 14 for 100 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble. The Cowboys also gave up an 81-yard punt return for a score to Darius Reynaud and committed seven penalties.
Watkins was definitely a bright spot. The fourth-year safety scored on an interception, blocked a field goal and stuffed Rosenfels on a bootleg on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
"I had a feeling like I was going to have a good game, and I had a couple people send me text messages with predictions," Watkins said. "Someone predicted six tackles and an interception. Somebody else predicted eight tackles. So after that maybe I need more predictions to help me out."
Rosenfels could have used a couple of texts himself.
The Vikings acquired Rosenfels in a trade with Houston in February to compete with Jackson for the starting job. That all changed when Favre arrived in the Twin Cities on Aug. 18. He looked solid in three quarters against the Texans on Monday night, so Childress sat him to avoid risking a major injury.
Rosenfels signed a three-year, $9 million contract extension when he was traded to Minnesota, which might help his cause. He was 10 for 13 for 91 yards in his debut at Indianapolis. But he missed the second preseason game with an ankle injury and has been outplayed by Jackson since.
"I felt real comfortable out there and I thought I did a pretty good job executing the offense other than that one play," Rosenfels said. "I'm going to keep firing and that's what I did."
Dallas receiver Jesse Holley provided the winning margin when a punt by Chris Kluwe took a funny backward hop and landed in Holley's arms. He raced 82 yards for a touchdown.
"When the ball dropped right to me I thought, 'What the heck do I have to lose?'" Holley said. "If I fumbled it, what was the worst thing that was going to happen? They cut me. And if I kept it, what's the greatest thing that was going to happen? They keep me. So I just grabbed it."
NOTES: Vikings backup LB Erin Henderson left the game with a right leg injury. Childress said he did not have an update after the game. ... Cowboys WR Kevin Ogletree left the game with a left eye contusion, but the injury is not considered serious. ... Dallas backup QB Rudy Carpenter played well, completing 12 of 18 passes for 125 yards and a TD.