By Shawn Lealos

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Tony Romo #9 hands off the ball to DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys during the game against the San Diego Chargers on September 29, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

(Credit, Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys should be getting one of their injured stars back for the Week 9 game with the Minnesota Vikings, but will remain without their top defensive star for another week.

DeMarco Murray could have played in the Detroit Lions game, and honestly if he had played the Cowboys might have won. While backup Joseph Randle might have a future in the NFL, right now he struggles to average two-yards a carry and can’t move the chains like Murray does. Murray said in a recent interview that he could have taken the field, but the Cowboys were smart to rest him for one more week, putting the season ahead of just the one game.

Pass rushing specialist DeMarcus Ware is getting closer to returning, and he will do pre-game warm-ups this week against the Minnesota Vikings, but don’t expect to see him out on the field for the game. The Vikings pose little threat to Dallas and there is no reason to rush Ware back until it is necessary, or until he is 100 percent ready.

Someone else who won’t be taking the field this week is cornerback Morris Claiborne. After Dallas gave up 300 passing yards to Calvin Johnson in Week 8, they have to want their secondary to get back to full strength, but this won’t be the week that Claiborne returns. Danny McCray should return from his injury because Dallas needs depth at the safety position with Barry Church playing with a hamstring strain. Safety J.J. Wilcox is also out with knee problems.

Brian Waters, the offensive lineman that Dallas brought in to revitalize their offensive line, is finished for the season with a triceps injury. While he has not been placed on the IR yet, Dallas might need to do so in order to sign another healthy body. Mackenzy Bernadeau will replace him at right guard.

Miles Austin is continuing to rehab his hamstring, but he returned two weeks ago and has failed to make a difference for the Cowboys. At this point, he is a non-factor with Terrance Williams stepping up.

Tony Romo might find a lot of open targets in the passing game because the Minnesota Vikings will likely be without cornerback Chris Cook and safety Jamarca Sanford, who both missed practice this week and are doubtful to take the field on Sunday. With the Vikings having quarterback problems, they might not be able to keep up with Dallas with their secondary so banged up.

Josh Freeman suffered a concussion in his first start with Minnesota and Christian Ponder returned to the starting role in place of him following the injury. Reports indicate that Freeman is healthy enough to return, but Ponder is taking the first team snaps and it looks like he might still start despite Freeman being available.

Ponder’s top target, wide receiver Greg Jennings, was limited with a knee injury but was still practicing in a limited basis and should be able to play on Sunday. However, running back Matt Asiata and tight end Rhett Ellison will not return this week, although both are backups and not integral parts of the offense.

Injury Report

Dallas Cowboys

  • Austin, Miles – WR – Hamstring
  • Church, Barry – S – Hamstring
  • Claiborne, Morris – CB – Hamstring
  • Dunbar, Lance – RB – Hamstring
  • Harris, Dwayne – WR – Hip
  • Hatcher, Jason – DT – Neck
  • Holloman, DeVonte – LB – Neck
  • McCray, Danny – S – Hip/Toe
  • Murray, DeMarco – RB – Knee
  • Selvie, George – DE – Shoulder
  • Ware, DeMarcus – DE – Thigh
  • Waters, Brian – G – Elbow
  • Wilcox, J.J. – S – Knee

Minnesota Vikings

  • Matt Asiata – RB – Shoulder
  • Chris Cook – CB – Hip
  • Rhett Ellison – TE – Ankle
  • Fred Evans – DT – Knee
  • Chad Greenway – LB – Wrist
  • Greg Jennings – WR – Knee
  • Phil Loadholt – T – Illness
  • Jamarca Sanford – S – Groin
  • Rodney Smith – WR – Hip
  • Blair Walsh – K – Left Hamstring
  • Kevin Williams – DT – Knee

For more Cowboys news and updates, visit Cowboys Central.

Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos.