HOUSTON – The Vikings overcame the ejection of star safety Harrison Smith for the entire second half Sunday with a late stop by the defense aided by a close-call incompletion on fourth down to win 31-23, but their formula on offense continues to make sense.

They have two guys on the opposite side of the ball who were too much for the Houston Texans.

Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson.

Two special talents.

One week after having career days in a loss, Cook and Jefferson were brilliant again to help the Vikings earn their first win.

Cook rushed for a career-high 181 yards against the Tennessee Titans a week ago. His performance was even more impressive.

Cook finished with 130 yards rushing on 27 carries with two touchdowns. He turned seemingly short gains – or potential loss yardage – into positive gains. He broke four tackles on a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

I’ll be interested to see how many of his rushing yards came after contact.

Jefferson, the rookie first-round pick, built on his breakout performance last week with another strong showing. He caught four passes for 103 yards.

Every one of his catches went for 20-plus yards, including a 25-yard reception on third-and-6 in the fourth quarter. That helped extend a touchdown drive that gave the Vikings a 31-16 lead.

Jefferson now gives the offense a true second option with Adam Thielen and a deep threat.

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