Wilkinson lined-up at fly-half for his first Test appearance since booting England to World Cup glory in November 2003 and there were encouraging signs that he is close to rediscovering his golden touch.
The 25-year-old - who has been plagued by injury since his heroics in Sydney - successfully negotiated a potentially fraught encounter against the physical Pumas and emerged with increased confidence.
He coolly slotted the injury-time penalty which secured the Lions a share of the spoils, the last act of his 20-point haul, set up a 17th-minute try for Ollie Smith and made a handful of breaks.
But the Newcastle skipper remains cautious over the success of his international return.
"I was fairly relieved when that last penalty went over. It was great to be out there - a real privilege and an honour. I couldn't think of a better way to make my comeback," he said.
"I'm desperate to do things well and to try and play my best. But I'm also realistic about what I can do. I need to take things step by step, do the simple things right and see where it goes from there.
"I've played some matches this season but I haven't had any international experience to draw upon. Now I've had a chance to look at my game at the top level so playing against Argentina was very useful."
The Pumas crossed through the lively Jose Nunez Piossek after just six minutes but the star of the night was fly-half Federico Todeschini, who landed 20 points in a flawless kicking display that laid the foundations for their challenge.
Wilkinson said: "It was a funny old game. It's always going to be tough in the first game when four nations come together and we faced a very good Argentinean side. They really tested us and our performance threw up a few negatives.
"But being able to see those negatives at this stage of the tour is a good thing. We need to learn what's right and what's wrong and it will help for the next game."