5 Minnesota Vikings players to watch vs. the New Orleans Saints

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /
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(Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

Dalvin Cook – RB

Dalvin Cook is supposedly healthy and ready to roll against the Saints this weekend. The Vikings will hope it’s the Cook from the first half of the season that shows up and not the one they saw during their last handful of games of 2019.

Cook quietly hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing day since Week 7. His last four games he’s rushed for 26, 29, 67, and 27 yards. That isn’t very good. Cook is due for a big game and the Vikings will likely be relying on him heavily against the Saints.

If Minnesota can establish the run early in this game it’ll open up their entire offense. Kirk Cousins can begin to utilize play-action which he is extremely good at. If Cook busts some big runs early, the New Orleans defense could bring an extra man up in the box to try to stop him.

This would, in turn, open things up for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, giving the Vikings a chance to hit a big gainer down the field. Minnesota’s offensive success on Sunday relies heavily on No. 33.

A healthy Cook would also mean a healthy screen game for the Vikings. In Minnesota’s first matchup without Cook in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers, Kevin Stefanski abandoned this element of their offensive attack and it really hurt the team.

Some of the Vikings’ biggest plays this year have come off of screen passes. They should be using these plays left and right against the Saints and Cook could have a game where has over 200 total yards of offense.