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.

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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: