Vikings need to ride Dalvin Cook as far as he can take them

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Two years ago, then-rookie running back Dalvin Cook was having an Adrian-Peterson-as-a-rookie-style impact on the Vikings. A non-contact torn ACL got in the way of what would have been a special season.

Now, Cook is healthy and, somehow, even better than he was as a rookie. In his third straight 100-yard game of the year, Cook performed like a man among boys, constantly cutting and twisting and bursting his way to more and more yardage. With uncanny explosion, he zips through the line and disappears into the second level, and beyond, on almost every single play.

For the season, Cook has a league-leading 375 rushing yards — and he’s averaging 6.6 yards per carry. That puts him exactly on pace for 2,000 rushing yards. And, yes, he’s good enough to do it.

At some point, defenses will overcommit to stopping him, although it may not matter. But what that will do is create even more chances for a passing game that has Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, eventually establishing the kind of pick-your-poison offense that the Vikings haven’t had since 2000, the year of the Four Norsemen of the Apocalypse — Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Robert Smith, and Daunte Culpepper.

Still, those Vikings passed to set up the run. These Vikings need to run to set up the pass. Or run to set up more running.

With Cook and high-end understudies like Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone, the Vikings may be able to do it. Given the presence of a defense far better than any defense the Vikings had in the golden days of Randy Moss, maybe this could be a team that wins big games during the regular season (starting next Sunday at Chicago) and, eventually, multiple games in the postseason.

As long as they make the running back and not the quarterback the focal point of the offense, it’s not such a far-fetched possibility.

52 responses to “Vikings need to ride Dalvin Cook as far as he can take them

  1. Yep. And the OC will keep learning as well. Mixed up some great play calling early going yesterday. The very bad decision by Cousins late against the Packers can easily be erased. I anticipate a 24-13 win at the Bears.

  2. This Vikings team does not matchup against the Bears at all since you can’t run on them, forcing Cousins to throw into that secondary against that pass rush.

    The Vikings are pretty good, but expect another Bears sweep this year.

  3. Dalvin looks faster in and out of cuts this year than he did in his rookie year. I don’t know what the training staff is putting in the water here but you have to love it. First Peterson, now Cook. Mattison and Boone both had nice afternoons as well.

    It’ll be interesting to see how teams respond to the rushing attack. It’ll be even more interesting to see how Cousins responds to an increase in responsibility.I’m guessing we’ll get a sneak preview next week against the Bears. Cross your fingers!

  4. OK Viking fans, remember Christian Ponder? Remember when AP took Ponder to the playoffs? That’s what you NEED to do with Kurt Cousins, because he is Ponder 2.0.

  5. Please do not become one dimensional! As Vikings fans we have ridden that train before and we will run into teams that can shut down our running game. B-A-L-A-N-C-E! #I’dVIKEthat #vikesrule

  6. fbfan says:
    September 23, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    A running team in a passing league…..ask Adrian Peterson how many rings that got him!!!
    ——————————————————————————–

    They can’t score if you have the rock don’t turn it over and eat time off the clock right?

  7. Cook has been great, but this is more about a significant improvement to the offensive line. The Vikings defense has been stellar for many years, but the team only thrives when the offensive line functions. Drafting Bradbury, adding Kline and kicking Elfein from center to guard have all been positives. As long as the group stays healthy — Kline left yesterday in concussion protocol — this team can go far.

  8. Packer fan here. I think MN is perfectly set up for a deep run. Everyone is talking about LA or Dallas in the NFC, but MN might be the best of the bunch come January.

  9. Focal point or not at some point Kirk Cousins will need to make big throws to win a game sometime this season.

    Maybe let that happen first before speculating about “multiple games in the postseason”.

  10. Listen…you looked good at home against bad teams. I mean you can’t help it’s who you play, so you gotta win who’s in front of you. Oakland is a dumpster fire as usual and Atlanta is terrible, with it’s only win against an equally over rated Philly team. Let’s talk after the next two weeks. Suddenly the Giants game isn’t an easy W, and the Bears defense will expose Cousins by taking away Dalvin. BTW after tonight you will be in last place, with ALMOST a must win against Chicago on the road.

  11. Alan Light says:
    September 23, 2019 at 12:22 pm
    The two best teams in the division face off this week and could well foreshadow the division winner.

    ++++++++++++++

    LOL, leaving out the team that beat BOTH of those “two best teams” is comical.

    Cook is a special talent, there’s no denying that. Unfortunately, the Vikings will waste his talent just like they did with AP.

  12. A.P. has usually played well vs Chicago. The 13 Different Starting Quarterbacks for Adrian Peterson:
    2007 – Tavaris Jackson
    2007 – Kelly Holcomb
    2007 – Brooks Bollinger
    2008 – Gus Frerotte
    2009 – Brett Favre
    2010 – Joe Webb
    2011 – Donovan McNabb
    2011 – Christian Ponder
    2013 – Matt Cassel
    2013 – Josh Freeman
    2014 – Teddy Bridgewater
    2016 – Shaun Hill
    2016 – Sam Bradford

  13. People are seeing why Jimbo Fisher left FSU the year after Cook left school. Many cite Winston, but this was the guy who really covered up how bad it had gotten years ago for that program, of which is still being cleaned up. I don’t even know if some FSU fans know how special of a talent this guy is. He’s doing stuff Peterson never did. Think about that.

  14. acmepackers says:
    September 23, 2019 at 12:33 pm
    Packer fan here. I think MN is perfectly set up for a deep run. Everyone is talking about LA or Dallas in the NFC, but MN might be the best of the bunch come January.
    ——-
    Thanks for the kind words.
    But the Vikings schedule is brutal the 2nd half of the year and in prime time.
    I won’t believe it until I see Cousins actually win a big game.
    It starts Sunday.

  15. Alexander Mattison absolute steal for Vikings. Guy has great story, stupid-smart, stupid-good.

    Not a fan per se, but obvious Vikes have an embarrassment of riches for running the rock.

  16. >> tritz32 says: That’s cute and all but they still have Kirk Cousins. <<

    And nobody knows that better than Dalvin’s agent.
    Two words: Hold. Out.
    💰 💵 💰

  17. Well, that strategy worked so well during the Adrian Peterson era.

    —————————————

    If I remember correctly they were one interception away of going to the SB. Cousins may not be close to Favre, but still the Vikings have solid WRs and good overall team that can do good things.

  18. Riding a young dynamic RB as far as he can take them, because Zimmer and the front office need to look good and want to keep their jobs after making Cousins the highest paid player in NFL history at one point.

  19. Another divisional game this week in what is the toughest division in football. The Bears not only swept them last year but beat them convincingly. This will be a really good test for the Vikings.

  20. I agree with everything Florio says, for once. Still, I don’t think you can hide your QB come playoff time, and I have zero confidence Captain Kirk can win a playoff game.

  21. As a lover of the Vikings I’m not counting any chickens quite yet.
    Our QB is capable of overcoming all the Vikings’ strengths and losing the game when it matters. He’s got a track record that shows exactly that.

  22. Always sketchy to make the RB your focal point given the higher probability of injury but Cook is really good. Definitely a top 3-5 RB in the league. Hopefully he can stay healthy ! Nice to see Irv Smith getting in on the passing game even though he’s been a valuable blocker. He’s got some speed to help open things up in the passing game.

  23. I am a little surprised how few wide open Viking receivers we see. Many of Thielen’s catches are contested. No one is selling out to stop the run. But if we keep running like this, they will. Somehow last year despite everyone knowing we couldn’t run, we managed to get receivers wide open. I am sure this is related to the play calling but it is a little concerning. Still it is exciting to be able to run on second and 8 and even more exciting to see Cook go all the way to the house on a simple running play. The team’s focus on the run is paying off and it is fun to watch.

  24. ragnarthegreat says:
    September 23, 2019 at 3:54 pm
    I am a little surprised how few wide open Viking receivers we see. Many of Thielen’s catches are contested. No one is selling out to stop the run. But if we keep running like this, they will. Somehow last year despite everyone knowing we couldn’t run, we managed to get receivers wide open. I am sure this is related to the play calling but it is a little concerning. Still it is exciting to be able to run on second and 8 and even more exciting to see Cook go all the way to the house on a simple running play. The team’s focus on the run is paying off and it is fun to watch.
    __________________________________
    Ragnar, it’s hard to tell on a televised picture, but if you had access to the All 22 view, you may have a different opinion on this. Apparently, Diggs was wide open on at least 6 pass plays against Green Bay, but Cousins just never pulled the trigger, or just didn’t have time. Also, Irv Smith, Jr. had quite a few plays in which he had great separation yesterday against the Raiders. Cousins found him on a few, including a big one that got called back, and I noticed he was open on at least a couple others. I hope we work him more in the game plan going forward, especially against Chicago so their speedy LBs can’t sit on Cook.

  25. Everyone wants to ride this young RB but he has missed games in each of his first two seasons, I would be careful about the workload. He has someone he can split carries with, but young RBs get tired of putting teams on their back and then hold out, and Bell, Zeke, and Gordon all have played with WAY better QBs than Cousins.

  26. >> conormacleod says: Ok. Name the 3-4 that are better right now. <<

    Currently there are 7. They're all members of teams with 3-0 records.
    Individual performance versus team success. Dan Marino and Barry Sanders know all about it.

  27. This Vikings team does not matchup against the Bears at all since you can’t run on them, forcing Cousins to throw into that secondary against that pass rush.

    The Vikings are pretty good, but expect another Bears sweep this year.

    ————————————–

    Can’t run on them? Says who? They said the same thing against the Packers defense…Cook had a monster game. Also, a old Peterson, and a Packers offense that can’t run the ball are not good tests to say…’you can’t run’….

    That said..this game will not be easy.

  28. “Vikings need to ride Dalvin Cook as far as he can take them” Or use him as a decoy. The Bears had several off sides penalties in the first half from being to hyped up. Minnesota has a lot more weapons than Washington mainly Thielen and Diggs. This is a very interesting match up Sunday and I would love to be in on the game planning for this one. What I’m saying is two back package with Mattison and Cook, some two tight end sets to chip Mack, play action to Cook to set up the run later. I could see a 13-10 game easy with the two best defenses in the NFC knocking heads. Vikes needs to be patient with the run and more importantly no points give off turn overs. Gonna be a battle, looking forward to it.

  29. h0metownzero says:
    September 24, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Dalvin Cook might be the only bright spot on this last place team.////

    This is an example as to why packer fans are ignored when it comes to talking football.

  30. ajzinnecker says:

    Can’t run on them? Says who? They said the same thing against the Packers defense…Cook had a monster game. Also, a old Peterson, and a Packers offense that can’t run the ball are not good tests to say…’you can’t run’….
    That said..this game will not be easy.

    —————

    So… if the Packers can’t run the ball and they ran for 150 yards against the Vikings, does that mean the Vikings have terrible defense?

  31. That’s a great strategy: QB be damned, focus on running back. Got it.

    They must’ve really enjoyed doing the same exact thing with Peterson for ten years.

  32. stellarperformance says:
    September 24, 2019 at 10:46 am

    That’s a great strategy: QB be damned, focus on running back. Got it.

    They must’ve really enjoyed doing the same exact thing with Peterson for ten years.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    And the Packers have been doing just that for most of Rodgers career right? We as a fan base have moved on from AD, you should as well.

  33. The Vikings are going to win this division & if they can get Elflein & Bradbury to actually block they have more than a punchers chance to make the Super Bowl.

    They need Cousins to be on. We usually see him on to begin the year then falter then back on. Lets hope he gets hot to end the season.

    Cook maybe even doesn’t have to stay healthy if Mattison & Boone carry the load.

    The Vikings are stacked on offense. Irv Smith Jr can play WR3. They can do 2 TE sets. 2 RB sets.

    If the Vikings D actually showed up for the 1st half vs the Packers the Vikings could be 3-0.

    They can beat this years Bears team twice.

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