Seattle is the NFL’s Great Dane of running the football. The Vikings fall somewhere between wiener dog and chihuahua.
But you know those little chihuahuas. They don’t like to back down.
Do they, Dalvin Cook?
“[The Seahawks] are going to try to possess the ball as much as they can,” the Vikings running back said. “We got to try to possess the ball more than they do. And that means running the football.”
Seattle averages a league-best 148.8 yards per game, including 164.8 since recommitting to the run in Week 3. The Vikings rank 30th (86.1) and have an ongoing story line featuring coach Mike Zimmer’s public prodding of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo to run the ball more.
Friday, DeFilippo said he would like to get more carries for Cook. Cook heads into Monday night’s game at Seattle with 74 carries in seven games, the same number he had in the four games he played last year before his season-ending knee injury.
“My touches are going to come,” Cook said. “I’m not into the whole ‘Coach Flip, get me the ball’ thing. We’ve got enough guys on this team who make plays on offense to where I don’t need the ball as much.
“But if they want to run the ball some more, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Cook had 354 yards and two touchdowns on his 74 carries last year. This year, he has 312 yards and no touchdowns. But his receiving numbers are up by 16 catches, 104 yards and one touchdown (1-0).
Seattle ranks 17th in run defense (116.8).
“We have to impose our will,” Cook said. “It’s about running the football. Everybody knows to run the football you have to impose your will early. That’s what we’re going to go and do.”
Clinging to sixth seed
Clinging to the sixth seed with four games left isn’t what most people envisioned for a team that went 13-3 a year ago with backup quarterback Case Keenum starting 14 games.
“Things don’t always go your way,” Cook said. “That’s how life is. Everything didn’t go how we wanted it to go this season. Guys got hurt. I got hurt. But when we put it all together, we know what type of team we got.
“We’re going to put it all together and play complementary football, and we’ll be all right.”
Kendricks in, Waynes out
After missing the first two practices of the week because of a rib injury, middle linebacker Eric Kendricks returned Friday and was listed as questionable. All indications are he’ll play a week after posting a career-high 18 tackles in the loss at New England.
“He’ll be fine,” Zimmer said.
Ruled out for Monday night’s game were left corner Trae Waynes (concussion), tight end David Morgan (knee) and receiver Chad Beebe (hamstring).
Waynes’ absence means undrafted rookie Holton Hill will get his second career start. He started against the Saints on Oct. 28.
Seattle’s vaunted run game will be without starting right guard D.J. Fluker, who’s out because of a hamstring injury. Fluker, who left the Giants to sign with Seattle before this season, has been an integral part of Seattle’s turnaround in the running game. The resurgence began in Week 3, the first game Fluker was able to play. Fluker missed only one other game. Rookie Jordan Simmons replaced him against the Rams in Week 10.
“[Fluker] is a good player,” Zimmer said. “They’re all big, strong guys. They all play the same way.”