Around the NFL  

 

Zimmer: Cook 'kept it in fourth gear' on 70-yard run

Print

Dalvin Cook returned to action for the Minnesota Vikings after missing all of October while dealing with a hamstring injury.

Out of the gate, Cook looked like a player who'd been out a month while dealing with a soft-tissue issue. His first five runs Sunday versus the Detroit Lions went for 2, 4, 7, 0 and 2 yards.

Then came the sixth.

Cook took the handoff, hit a crease on the left side of the line, then hit the turbo button in the open field, blasting for a 70-yard scamper. The run set up a touchdown that put the Vikings up 14-6. They would need no more points in a 24-9 whitewash.

"I just turned it on," Cook said of his big run, via ESPN's Courtney Cronin. "And that's when at that point you've got to trust yourself. You've got to know you put the work in for the hamstring to be right and I'm just glad man. I'm just back out here on the field."

Coach Mike Zimmer said he thinks Cook still has another gear to hit not to get caught from behind in the future.

"He actually said that he was thinking about his hamstring and only kept it in fourth gear," Zimmer said. "Hopefully there's another gear there somewhere."

Cook getting through the game is a big step for an offense that has missed his explosive ability behind a belabored offensive line.

The running back ended the game with 10 carries for 89 yards, a season high, and four receptions for 20 yards. Outside of the big 70-yard gain, it was a pedestrian afternoon for Cook, averaging 2.1 yards per tote on the nine other carries. That's irrelevant on this day.

Cook played 54.3 percent of the offensive snaps in his return -- getting most of the fourth quarter off in the double-digit win -- and didn't suffer a setback. Hamstring injuries can linger and are easily re-aggravated if not fully healed. That Cook made it through the week and stretched his legs on the long run are positive signs moving forward.

Sitting at 5-3-1 the Vikings are half a game back of the Chicago Bears heading into their bye. Cook now has another week to rest the hamstring and hopefully find that fifth gear down the stretch.

Kirk Cousins and the passing game have had to carry the load early in the season. Cook getting fully healthy over the next month could be the difference between overtaking the division lead or sitting at home in January.

Print