ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Romo got another chance after throwing a late-game interception at home. This time, he came through.
The Cowboys (5-4) bounced back from a devastating loss at Detroit by avoiding what probably would have been a more damaging defeat.
"We just have to keep the belief throughout the whole football game," said Romo, who was 34-of-51 passing. "I never doubted that we would find a way to win this game, and we did it."
Romo's first attempt to answer Peterson's go-ahead score was intercepted on a great play along the sideline by A.J. Jefferson -- and was a reminder of the late pick he threw in Dallas' only home loss this year.
But the Vikings couldn't convert this late Romo mistake into points, and they gave him the ball back at the Dallas 10 with 2:44 remaining.
Peterson got Minnesota's go-ahead drive going earlier in the quarter with a 52-yard run, then went the final 11 on fourth-and-1. He easily got the first down and carried safety Jeff Heath the last few yards, with Heath trying to strip the ball as Peterson crossed the goal line.
"I don't really care about the yards," said Peterson, who had 25 carries and another 37 yards receiving. "I want to get some Ws. I don't want to rush for 2,000 yards and be sitting at home watching others play."
After there was just one touchdown between the teams in the first half, there were three in the first seven minutes of the third quarter.
Romo had consecutive 26-yard completions to Witten, the second for a touchdown and a 13-10 lead.
A week after Cordarrelle Patterson set an NFL record with a 109-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, he fumbled a short kickoff out of bounds at the Minnesota 5.
"I need to be out there playing," said Ponder, who was 25-of-37 passing after being named starter on Friday, and with Josh Freeman inactive because of a concussion. "For myself and the leaders on this team, we need to get this turned around and get out there and win."
The Cowboys were in position to extend the 20-17 lead when Bryant took his team out of field goal range with unsportsmanlike conduct. Bryant took off his helmet and argued with officials as a pass interference penalty against him was about to be announced.
Bryant, who made headlines last week with a pair of sideline outbursts in a loss at Detroit, later dropped an easy first-down catch on second-and-18. The drive ended with a punt.
"I didn't know anything about the helmet rule," said Bryant, who had six catches for 64 yards. "I knew the play was over with, and I thought it was OK. During the timeouts, I always take my helmet off."
Ponder led a pair of 11-play scoring drives in the first half, the second one ending on his 6-yard scramble for a 10-6 lead late in the second quarter.
NOTES: Peterson played the Cowboys at Texas Stadium his rookie year in 2007. Before Sunday, that was Dallas' only win in the past eight games against the Vikings. ... Witten avoided a four-game streak with fewer than five catches. It would have been his first since 2008. ... The Vikings are off to their worst start since the franchise's debut in 1961.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press