Vikings’ Cook, Hunter, Smith make Pro Bowl

Vikings safety Harrison Smith, defensive end Danielle Hunter and running back Dalvin Cook have been selected by players, fans and coaches to the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl. Cook and Smith were both named as starters.

Cook is selected to his first Pro Bowl after leading the fan voting as the top non-
quarterback among vote-getters. With 1,135 rushing yards through 14 games, Cook is the eighth player in Vikings history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season, and the first since Adrian Peterson did so in 2015. Cook is also just the fourth player in franchise history to score 13 or more rushing touchdowns in a single season. The Florida State product, who ranks third in the NFL with 1,654 yards from scrimmage, was named Week 10 NFC Offensive Player of the Week at Dallas and FedEx Ground Player of the week twice, in Week 2 at Green Bay and Week 7 at Detroit.

Hunter, who is tied for third in the NFL in sacks with 13.5, has earned his second
consecutive Pro Bowl nod in his fifth season. With 47.5 sacks, Hunter has the third-most sacks in the NFL since the start of the 2016 season. He recorded 48.0 sacks prior to turning 25 years of age, an NFL record since sacks became an official stat in 1982, and became the youngest player (25 years and 40 days) to eclipse 50.0 career sacks, doing so in the Week 14 matchup against Detroit. The Katy, Texas, native earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for that effort. Hunter ranks in the top five in total tackles (65), sacks (13.5), sack yards (112.5) TFLs (14) and QBHs (21) at his position in the NFL.

Smith, with 80 total tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble
recoveries, three tackles for loss and 1.0 sack on the season, is one of the most versatile safeties in the league. His 11 passes defensed ranks third among NFL safeties. The Notre Dame product has been named to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl a week after surpassing Antoine Winfield for third-most tackles by a Vikings defensive back in team history. The eighth-year veteran trails only Paul Krause (six) and Joey Browner (six – one as a special teamer) for the most Pro Bowl selections among Vikings safeties.


Zimmer on Cook: ‘When he gets the ball in space, people can’t catch him’

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10. Cook paced the Vikings in both rushing yards (97) and receiving yards (86) to lead Minnesota past Dallas, 28-24, on Sunday Night Football.

With 183 total yards in the contest, he has surpassed 100 scrimmage yards a league-leading eight times in 2019. Cook’s 86 yards through the air also tied a career-high.

“I thought the offensive line did an outstanding job, and he’s (Cook) is a great player,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said on Wednesday. “We stayed on blocks, we finished blocks, the tight ends did a nice job, and receivers did a good job when they were in there blocking. Kirk got us in the right plays, and Dalvin is a great runner.”

Through 10 games, the former Florida State Seminole leads the NFL with 991 rushing yards and 1,415 scrimmage yards, while his 10 rushing touchdowns rank third in the league. Cook’s 1,415 scrimmage yards also set a franchise record and is the highest 10-game total in the NFL since DeMarco Murray’s 1,514 scrimmage yards in 2014. Overall, his 991 rushing yards through Week 10 are more than 15 NFL teams have totaled all season.

“You know, I always knew that he(Cook) was a terrific runner,” Zimmer said. “But, I think the other two things, how hard he runs and that the first person typically doesn’t tackle him, has been really impressive. And then the other part is when he gets the ball in space, people can’t catch him. He just has that extra gear.”

With Cook and Alexander Mattison carrying the load for Minnesota, life for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is good. Many expected Cook to have a big year, and after 10 games, he is doing just that. 

Vikings’ Zimmer: ‘I think we’re moving in the right direction’

The Minnesota Vikings(7-3) got a very good win on Sunday night in Dallas. Behind the running of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, the passing of Kirk Cousins, and a stifling run defense. Minnesota was able to defeat the Cowboys 28-24.

Minnesota was able to dominate the line of scrimmage against the Cowboys. The Vikings rushed for 153 yards against Dallas. Cook, the league’s leading rusher, ran for 97 yards and a touchdown, and Mattison ran for 52 yards, and for the fourth game in a row, Cousins(23-32, 220 yards, 2 touchdowns), who was sacked only once, did not turn the football over.  

Defensively, the Vikings shut down Ezekiel Elliott. The two-time Pro Bowler was held to 47 yards on 20 carries. All that was done without maybe their best run-stopper in Linval Joseph, who missed last night’s game due to a knee injury.

“Really good team win yesterday on the road, prime time,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said on Monday. “I really thought that both sides of the ball, our offensive line, and defensive line, played outstanding. Played with a lot of toughness, a lot of physicality, a lot of grit. One of the things we talked about in the offseason was 10 minutes left in the game, and going out and winning those football games.

“A week ago, we were up by three with ten minutes left, and we lost the game. Last week we were up by four and won the game. I think we’re moving in the right direction; we just got to keep going.”

It was an impressive performance by the Vikings, and after how they let one slip away against the Chiefs last week, you have to give Minnesota credit for bouncing back against the Cowboys. The Vikings have an excellent football team and seem to have the recipe for success in the postseason, which is running the ball, stopping the run, and not turning the ball over.

There is a lot of football to be played, but as Zimmer said, Minnesota definitely is headed in the right direction.

Dalvin Cook on Vikings: ‘I think we are right there with everybody else in the league’

At 6-2, the Minnesota Vikings are playing like one of the better teams in the NFC and the NFL. Last night, the Vikings defeated the Redskins 19-9, and while it was not their best performance, a win is a win.

“We put ourselves in a position for the second half of the season,” Vikings QB Kirk Cousins said after the victory over his former team. “It’s going to be right there for us, and we got to go out and do it. 6-2 doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t turn the last eight games into something special.”

After losing to the Bears in Week 4, the Vikings were 2-2. At that time, some wanted to run Cousins out of time, but four straight victories later, and some big-time performances from Cousins, things have definitely changed. Currently, the Vikings are in second place behind the Packers in the NFC North. However, the Vikings have some tough games ahead of them, and Cousins knows the final eight games won’t be easy.

“We got some big-time games up ahead,” Cousins said. “These aren’t going to be easy opponents. We’re going to be playing in tough environments against really good football teams, so the work doesn’t get any easier from here.”

The Vikings’ offense has woken up, and the defense is playing at a decent level, which means, according to RB Dalvin Cook, that Minnesota is as good as any team in football.

“I think we are right there with everybody else in the league,” Cook said.

Minnesota is in a good place right now, but their schedule does get rough, including road games against the Chiefs, Cowboys, Seahawks, and the Packers at home. It won’t be easy for Minnesota, but based on the way they are playing right now, they might be able to navigate through it with success.

Cousins: ‘We have a very special running back in Dalvin Cook’

The recipe for the Minnesota Vikings this season is running the ball with Dalvin Cook and playing big-time defense, and on Sunday against the Raiders, that recipe was on full display. Led by Dalvin Cook’s 110 rushing yards, the Vikings rushed for 211 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, as Minnesota trounced the Raiders 34-14 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“Yeah, there’s a commitment to running the ball from our coaches philosophically and the way they game plan and the way they call plays, so that’s first of all given us a chance,” Cousins said after the game. “We have a very special running back in Dalvin Cook. He’s shown that. So those are two big pieces. And then our offensive line is executing the plays.”

The Vikings have more rushing yards than passing yards this season, and on Sunday, Cook became the first running back in Minnesota’s history to rush for three straight one-hundred yard games, which makes Cook happy.

It’s great. Chuck [Foreman] has been through this organization, Adrian Peterson as well,” Cook said. “Those are some household names, and to just be mentioned along with those guys is great.”

The third-yard back is leading the NFL in rushing yards, and his running mate, Alexander Mattison, who ran for 58 yards and one touchdown on Sunday, is very impressed by what he has seen by Cook this season.

“He is amazing and explosive,” Mattison said. “His intensity and his energy are amazing, so he provides that big dose of energy that we need as a running back room, as an offense, so it’s amazing for him to get out there and get things rolling the ways he does. We then just try to carry the team.”

According to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, what impresses him the most about Cook is his toughness.

“He doesn’t need a lot of space, because he’s really good at slithering through holes,” Zimmer said. “Maybe the most impressive thing with him is toughness in the tackles. He doesn’t ever want to go down, but he’s a physical runner with great speed and home run ability.”

Many expected Cook to have an outstanding season, and after three weeks, he is off to a tremendous start.

Vikings’ Cook: ‘Whenever I am on the field, a lot of special things can happen’

Ground and pound was what the Vikings did on Sunday against the Falcons. Minnesota rushed for 172 yards, including 111 yards from RB Dalvin Cook and two touchdowns to defeat Atlanta 28-12 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“It was a great start. It was good to set the pace for the season,” Cook said. “The offensive line was moving people upfront. We got it going early. The defense kind of sparked this thing, and we took care of business by punching the ball in which got the momentum going. It was definitely a good start for the season, and something we can build on. There are still more yards on the field that we can get by cleaning up the little things.”

The Vikings running game was so effective with Cook and Alexander Mattison(9 carries, 49 yards) that their QB Kirk Cousins only had to throw the ball 10 times against the Falcons, and defensively, the Vikings were able to force three turnovers against Atlanta. According to Cook, running the ball and playing big-time defense is what makes head coach Mike Zimmer happy.

“That is our identity. Everybody knows Coach Zimmer wants to run the football and play great defense,” Cook said. “Like I said earlier, they played great defense and set the tone for us today. We were able to piggy-back off of their energy and got this thing rolling.”

Many believe that Cook, who had touchdown runs of 7 and 19 yards, could have a breakout season in 2019, and Cook believes that whenever he is in the game, great things can happen for the team.

“I have been practicing and working very hard,” he said. “It’s just football. Whenever I am on the field, a lot of special things can happen. I just got to stay on the field to help the team that’s the most important thing. Being out here with these guys is fun. We worked extremely hard this offseason and training camp to have days like these.”

The Vikings are off to a good start. Obviously, the next 15 games won’t be like this, but Minnesota has to be happy with what they saw out of Cook and the running game in Week 1.

Vikings’ OC on Dalvin Cook: ‘I think he really fits the mentality of our offense, the mentality of our team’

If the preseason is any indication, RB Dalvin Cook could have a breakout season in 2019 for the Minnesota Vikings.  In his only preseason action, the third-year back ripped off an 85-yard TD run against the Cardinals. Cook, who was 41st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, entered the 2018 season coming off a torn ACL in his rookie season. In 2018, Cook was solid as he rushed for 615 yards, including two rushing touchdowns, but the Vikings are hoping to get more out him this season.

Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski can’t wait to see Cook this weekend as Minnesota hosts the Atlanta Falcons.

“I’m really excited to see Dalvin (Cook) out there on Sunday,” Stefanski said on Thursday. “He’s a kid that, as you all know, works really hard and has worked his tail off to get back from injury so now he’s feeling healthy. He’s raring to go.”

According to Stefanski, Cook has shown that he has some leadership skills as well.

“The Dalvin Cook that I’m so impressed with is the leader, is the guy that works and leads by example, maybe not vocally all the time,” Stefanski said. “Our players are very well aware of that guy when he’s on the practice field because you see him not only doing his job but doing it with great passion and working. We’re in a drill, and he’ll go take a run and burst for an extra 50 yards because he’s getting into that shape. The guys just see a worker. I think he really fits the mentality of our offense, the mentality of our team.”

The best friend to any quarterback is a running game, and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success with throws coming off of play-action throughout his career. If Cook can stay healthy and be productive, Cousins and the Vikings’ offense could have a lot of success on the offensive side of the ball this season. 

Report: Possible torn ACL for Dalvin Cook

According to Ian Rapoport, Vikings RB Dalvin Cook could be out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Cook injured his knee against the Lions on Sunday. The 22-year-old rookie had played well for the Vikings this season. Losing their prized rookie for the season would be a huge blow to the Vikings.

Here is how the injury looked: