Dallas Cowboys

5 things to watch in the Cowboys-Vikings preseason game

Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is expected to play for the first time in preseason tonight.
Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is expected to play for the first time in preseason tonight. Star-Telegram

The Dallas Cowboys are ready to make their home debut Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

It’s the third preseason game, known as the official “dress rehearsal,” and it’s when starters typically get their most playing time before the regular season.

1 Tony Romo The starting quarterback took only three snaps in his preseason debut against San Francisco, completing one pass for a negative yard. His workload should increase against the Vikings with the line expected to be back at full strength. The offense needs to show some life after only two touchdowns in two games.

2 Injury debuts Linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Morris Claiborne are expected to see game action for the first time, but wide receiver Dez Bryant will probably watch from the sidelines. Owner Jerry Jones said Friday that he doesn’t expect Bryant to play Saturday or the rest of the preseason. Bryant has been nursing a strained hamstring during training camp.

3 Three straight? Rookie defensive end Randy Gregory has made a strong impression early, recording a sack in each of the first two preseason games. Can he make it three straight? The Cowboys feel they got a steal when Gregory slipped to them in the second round in the draft. He’s a budding star.

4 Lucky or not Lucky Whitehead has caught the eye of Jones, and the coaching staff likes how he projects as the team’s return man. But Whitehead has had issues catching punts in games and during practice. These next two games are critical for him.

5 Welcome home The Cowboys finally make their home debut, and the buzz should be strong with a Super Bowl-or-bust feel to the season. The Cowboys hope AT&T Stadium becomes a home-field advantage this season, because it wasn’t last year. The Cowboys were 8-0 away from home and only 4-4 at home during the 2014 regular season.

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