4 keys to victory for the Vikings vs. the Falcons in Week 6

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports) Alexander Mattison – Minnesota Vikings /

Pound the rock in Dalvin Cook’s absence

The Vikings might be without the services of Dalvin Cook for this one. But one only has to look at how the Panthers fared last weekend running the ball in the absence of Christian McCaffrey to see what can be achieved.

Carolina leaned on Mike Davis heavily, which played a leading role in their success. The veteran back accumulated 149 all-purpose yards and bulldozed the Panthers to victory with a sensational contribution on a fourth-quarter drive that ultimately iced the game.

Minnesota appears highly confident that Alexander Mattison can come in and fill the enormous void left by Cook. The second-year-pro has made an eye-catching impact on a rotational basis during his time at the next level so far and this is another big opportunity for the player to stake his claim for more carries once the Pro Bowler returns to the lineup.

The Falcons are giving up 110.2 yards-per-game on the ground, which is pretty good in the grand scheme of things. Providing the Vikings’ patchwork offensive line interior can open up enough holes for Mattison to work in, then he should put up some solid numbers.

It is vital that Minnesota doesn’t go away from the run game if Mattison struggles early on. The Falcons are unlikely to stack the box in the same manner in which they would if Cook was available, so patience is going to be key.