Minnesota Vikings: 3 Players that must shine vs. Lions in Week 7

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images /
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Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images /

3. Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook has been a key piece to Minnesota’s offense so far this season and that has in return pushed him up as one of the top players and running backs in the NFL through six weeks of action. Through six contests in his third year in the league and with the Vikings in 2019, Cook has tallied 583 yards rushing with six touchdowns on 108 carries. While averaging 5.4 yards per carry, Cook has also totaled 213 yards receiving and 23 catches.

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In Minnesota’s Week 6 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, however, Cook struggled to some extent within the offense throughout the win at home. In that contest, the running back finished with just 41 yards — his second-lowest mark of the season to this point — on 16 carries, finishing with one touchdown and 2.6 yards per carry on the ground. Cook did manage to finish with 13 yards receiving and two touchdowns in that game.

Part of the reason behind that was Kirk Cousins and company being able to take over the game against the Eagles with the passing game and airing out the ball early and often against Philadelphia. That ended up limiting the amount of times Minnesota had to rely on its young star running back out of the backfield.

On Sunday against the Lions, Cook will have to have a bounce-back performance and might be relied on a bit more in the contest against one of Minnesota’s division rivals.

It will be interesting to see if the Vikings focus on Cook early on in the game or if they try and establish the passing game early against the Lions, something that has worked well for Minnesota in its last two victories over the past two weeks.