Dawkins, 6-2, 292 pounds, was a seventh-round pick of the Vikings last April and had been on the practice squad for the season. He had five tackles and a half sack in the preseason. He started 41 of 57 games at Florida State.
He is the second player the Cowboys have poached from a practice squad this season. The Cowboys had cornerback Chris Greenwood on the roster for three games before he was released.
The Cowboys also filled their two practice-squad openings by signing guard Phillipkeith Manley and defensive linemen Hall Davis. Manley, 6-5, 309 pounds, spent parts of the past two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. Davis was a fifth round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2010 and has bounced around with four other teams.