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Cowboys-Vikings earns 'TNF'-record 21.8 million viewers

Thursday night's Cowboys-Vikings tilt moved Dallas one step closer to a postseason berth and also moved the needle for Thursday Night Football.

A record 21.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the Cowboys outlast Minnesota, 17-15, on NBC and NFL Network, the most-viewed Thursday Night Football game of all-time, according to NFL public relations. The game also earned an overnight TV rating of 14.1, the second-best ever for 'TNF' behind last season's Denver-Kansas City Week 2 thriller.

The Dallas-Minnesota game was up 22 percent from last year's Packers-Lions game that ended in Aaron Rodgers' unforgettable game-winning Hail Mary.

Viewership peaked at 23.5 million viewers from 10:45 to 11 p.m. ET before the Vikings' final fated drive.

The 11-1 Cowboys have been responsible for big viewership numbers this season, drawing near-record marks against the Redskins on Thanksgiving and high ratings at the Steelers and Packers in the 4:25 p.m. ET slot. 

A combination of intrigue surrounding new stars in Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott and Minnesota's playoff desperation likely factored into Thursday evening's record viewership.

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