Can Cook find success against the Packers?
One of the biggest highlights of the Vikings’ Week 1 victory was the performance of the running game. After repeatedly slamming into the back of his overmatched offensive line a year ago, Dalvin Cook looked revitalized against the Falcons carrying the ball 22 times for 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
While the Vikings simply had to contain Grady Jarrett and worry about the rest in Week 1, the Packers’ defensive line has been one of the most underrated fronts in the NFL. Even after letting go of Mike Daniels at the beginning of training camp, the Packers have adapted adding Preston Smith in the middle next to Kenny Clark and Za’Darius Smith on the edge, who had an NFL-high 10 pressures against the Bears in Week 1.
While the Packers’ new-look defensive line held the Bears to 46 yards on the ground last week, a lot of that was from the Bears only attempting to run 15 times. The Vikings will assuredly have more volume on the ground on Sunday and a lot of their effort will fall on the back of Cook.
Cook didn’t have a great season against the Packers in 2018 after injuring himself in overtime of the Week 2 meeting. As he was starting to round back into form when the Packers visited Minnesota in Week 12, Cook didn’t have success on the ground running 10 times for 29 yards but was able to score a long touchdown on a John DeFilippo-patented screen play.
The Vikings running game looked born again in Week 1, but to come out of Lambeau Field with the victory, they’ll need a similar effort from Cook in Week 2.