Dallas Cowboys

Darren McFadden outshines Joseph Randle in running game vs. Vikings

Darren McFadden had an impressive game vs. the Vikings.
Darren McFadden had an impressive game vs. the Vikings. Star-Telegram

Darren McFadden did a better job backing up Joseph Randle’s “meat on the bone” comment than Randle himself on Saturday against the Vikings.

McFadden rushed for 37 yards on four carries against the Vikings, averaging 9.3 yards. His highlight play was a nifty 15-yard run that showed he still has the burst that made him the fourth overall pick in 2008.

“I felt like we were able to get the running game going,” McFadden said. “We established something tonight.”

Randle, meanwhile, gained only 15 yards on six carries. He had 30 yards on seven carries in last week’s game against the 49ers.

“It was good. There are some things we’ve seen on tape that can help us in the future,” Randle said. “I didn’t get a lot of work, but the work I did get was good work.”

It’s too early to draw definitive conclusions, but it’s safe to say that McFadden made a better impression. The question remains, though, whether McFadden can stay healthy.

Jason Garrett says he's always been impressed with McFadden and is excited to see what he can do if he can remain healthy.

McFadden, 28, has missed 29 games with 15 different injuries, and battled hamstring injuries in training camp. But, when healthy, he’s shown he can be an effective back.

McFadden played all 16 games for the first time in his career last season with the Raiders, but had a more limited role. He averaged less than 10 carries a game.

For Randle, he hasn’t been given the chance to show he can handle a No. 1 workload. This is a guy who has 507 career rushing yards on 105 carries.

So the plan remains for Randle, McFadden and change-of-pace back Lance Dunbar to form a committee to replace DeMarco Murray. Randle and McFadden seem comfortable with that, too.

“We are going to keep working, and we’re going to keep grinding,” Randle said. “We’ll let the coaches do their job. I think we’ll keep doing our job and run the ball.”

Added McFadden: “You don’t need every one. When it’s time to play, you have to just be ready. I tried to do that tonight.

“For a running back, once you get in the groove, it’s hard to get out of it. Once you’re getting carries, you get the groove.”

The Dallas Cowboys showed signs of life in their third preseason game despite falling to Minnesota 28-14 on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.