spotlight on Dalvin Cook
Running on all cylinders
Number grade (out of 10): 9.0
With former Vikings star and NFL MVP Adrian Peterson looking on from the other sideline, running back Dalvin Cook did just about everything he could to conjure memories of Peterson’s dominance in purple. For the second straight game, Cook churned out more than 200 yards from scrimmage (252 and two touchdowns). The Vikings leaned on Cook from start to finish, even relying on their workhorse running back in a hurry-up drill typically reserved for downfield passing. Running back Ameer Abdullah’s 22-yard touchdown reception just before halftime was set up by Cook amassing 47 quick yards in three plays.
Positive Open-field dynamo
There might be no NFL player more elusive in the open field right now than Cook, who made Lions defenders look silly with tackle attempts. But the Vikings offensive line also deserves credit, given Cook wasn’t touched on plays such as his opening 13-yard run until he was well downfield. He turned big holes into big gains. And with his trademark acceleration, Cook turned potential losses into big gains, too. He took a pitch directly into a Lions corner blitz, a perfect defensive play call for that spot, and turned it into a 13-yard gain in the fourth quarter.
Negative Still looking
What’s there to nitpick? Other than, if you’re a Vikings fan, to hold your breath that Cook can continue to handle the 26.2 touches per game he’s getting over the past five outings. That includes the loss in Seattle, which Cook exited in the third quarter with a groin injury after 22 touches. So far he’s holding up to the heaviest of workloads.
Extra Point 20-touchdown season?
Dalvin Cook near the goal line is money. So much so, Cook is just the seventh player since 2000, according to Pro Football Reference, with at least 13 touchdowns in a team’s first eight games. And Cook missed the Week 6 loss to Atlanta.
“The most impressive run, for me among several, was the flip. We pitched it out to him late in the game with a corner blitz and he made the corner miss and was able to dart up the field for a big gain. That play was not looking good.” — quarterback Kirk Cousins on Cook’s 13-yard run in the fourth quarter.