The Vikings' offensive line couldn't successfully open up any running lanes against the notoriously stingy Bears front, leaving to a sub-par outing on the ground for Cook. The second-year back had offered glimpses of his upside over the prior four games, rushing for between 73 and 136 in three of them and amassing 17 catches over that span as well. However, Sunday's 3.5 yards per carry harkened back to Cook's pedestrian production earlier in his injury-shortened season. Now having dealt with a torn ACL and a nagging hamstring issue over his first pair of pro campaigns, Cook will look forward to getting through the offseason healthy and preparing for a 2019 campaign that he should be able to enter at full strength.
Cook rushed 16 times for 73 yards and caught all three of his targets for 35 more in Sunday's 27-9 win over the Lions.
Cook came back down to earth after blitzing the Dolphins for 136 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in Week 15, but he still served as Minnesota's primary running back, with Latavius Murray gaining just 28 scrimmage yards on 11 touches to Cook's 108 yards on 19 touches. The Vikings will ride Cook with a playoff berth on the line in Week 17, but carving out running room won't be easy against the rival Bears.
Cook rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries while hauling in one of two targets for 27 yards in Sunday's 41-17 win over the Dolphins.
Cook got to the edge for a 13-yard rushing score in the first quarter and sliced through Miami's defense for a 21-yard touchdown in the fourth. Minnesota scored just 3:20 in and never relinquished that lead, which led to a run-heavy approach featuring 19 carries for Cook and 15 for Latavius Murray. A similar game script could well unfold in Week 16 against a Lions team that's been mired in a rut offensively, which is great news for owners who have managed to whether Cook's injury issues up to this point.
Cook rushed 13 times for 55 yards and caught five of seven targets for 28 yards and a touchdown in Monday night's 21-7 loss to the Seahawks.
Cook saved the Vikings from being shut out by hauling in a six-yard touchdown on the team's final offensive play. That marked Cook's second receiving touchdown in the past three games, but he surprisingly still hasn't found the end zone on the ground. Although Minnesota's offense was ineffective for the vast majority of Monday's contest, Cook's 13 carries were his most since Week 1, offering some hope his workload increases for this Sunday's game versus the Dolphins.
Though Cook is back to full health after missing five games earlier this season due to a hamstring injury, coach Mike Zimmer was unwilling to commit to the running back reclaiming a workload on par with what he received in 2017, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. "We'll see. Every game is different," Zimmer said, in response to how extensively Cook would be used Sunday against the Seahawks. "Every game is different. This team plays a lot of extra guy in the box, so we'll just have to see."
Before his inaugural campaign came to an end after four games due to a torn ACL, Cook looked like one of the NFL's top backs while averaging 18.5 carries and four targets per contest. In his return from the major injury in Week 1 of the current season, Cook handled 22 touches (16 carries, six receptions), but he's logged no more than 17 in any of his other six appearances. The hamstring issue may have permanently put any plans to gradually expand Cook's workload on ice for the time being, even though he's suited up in the Vikings' last four games and has avoided any setbacks. Zimmer's comments don't inspire much confidence that Cook will dominate the backfield carries versus Seattle to an overwhelming extent, so expect Latavius Murray to remain a part of the game plan and earn a handful of totes, particularly in short-yardage scenarios.
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