Dak Prescott must pass threshold to play; La’el Collins now a Dallas Cowboys backup

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All systems point toward Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott starting on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings

Nothing is final, as Prescott must pass a certain threshold in his rehab from a right calf strain, coach Mike McCarthy said.

But the Cowboys (5-1) plan for him to be on the field as they return from the bye and attempt to extend their five-game winning streak against the Vikings(3-3).

However, it won’t be business as usual on the offensive line with former starting right tackle La’el Collins set to return from a five-game suspension for violating the NFL’s suspension abuse policy.

McCarthy said Terence Steele will continue to start at right tackle and Collins will open the week as a reserve at tackle and left guard.

The Cowboys are rewarding Steele for how well he has played in Collins’ absence.

“I mean you clearly have to recognize how well Terence played. We all recognize that,” McCarthy said. “Continuity of the offensive line is something that you’re always striving to sustain over the course of the year. The intricacies of what goes on up front, the reps they’ve been playing together is crucial, so we want to continue to grow that.”

McCarthy said Collins was a professional when told the news and they just want to see him back on the field.

Collins missed all 16 games last season with a hip injury before playing in the season opener and then serving a five-game suspension.

The move is also about trying to find the best five players up front.

Collins played left guard as a rookie in 2015 before moving to tackle.

Connor Williams, the starter at left guard, has been a question mark at the position for the last four years.

He has a league-high nine penalties in 2021.

Regarding Prescott, McCarthy said the quarterback would participate in individual drills in practice on Wednesday and see how he feels before determining if he would work in team drills.

Backup Cooper Rush would get the majority of work with the first team until Prescott was fully cleared by team athletic trainer Britt Brown.

But the plan is for Prescott to play against the Vikings and the Cowboys could take the entire week to make a final decision.

“He’s going to practice and he’s going to go through the individual part of it and he’s in the game plans,” McCarthy said. “He’s preparing to play. He’s going to cross the threshold to make sure he’s full go. There’s not a timeline.”

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