6 Vikings storylines to watch in the second half of the season

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Harrison Smith
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Harrison Smith /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

The impact of Dalvin Cook’s return

Just like the team, the first half of the season hasn’t gone the way that Cook or the Vikings had envisioned. After an electric four-game stretch to begin his career last season, his rehab from a torn ACL that ended his rookie year wound up spilling into his sophomore campaign thanks to a lingering hamstring injury.

As Cook sat out to try to recover from the injury, Minnesota’s running game struggled until a surge (311 yards and five touchdowns) by Latavius Murray in the final five games of the first half helped bring the ground game to life. Murray’s play was a nice surprise for the Vikings,  but it’s not what Cook brings to the table.

When Cook is on the field, he’s a problem that the defense has to account for both on the ground and through the air. In eight career games, The young running back has racked up 24 receptions while Murray has caught just 33 balls in 25 games with Minnesota.

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Cook’s receiving ability is another weapon for Kirk Cousins to utilize to open up space for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.

Aside from that, Cook is pretty good running the ball too. His 4.1 yards per carry average this season isn’t going to jump off the page, but he has big play ability that was on display with a 70-yard run against the Detroit Lions in Week 9.

With his hamstring presumably healed, it’s possible we could see more of these impressive plays from Cook in the second half.