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Mike Zimmer: Vikings need to 'stick' to the run more

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The Minnesota Vikings offense added Kirk Cousins in the offseason and got running back Dalvin Cook back. In theory, the Vikings should be better in 2018 than they were last season. In practice, it hasn't been close.

Under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the Vikings have struggled to move the ball consistently. Particularly troubling for coach Mike Zimmer is the lack of reliability from the ground game.

"I do think there's times we need to stick with it a little bit more," Zimmer said, via The St. Paul Pioneer Press. "You've got to keep at it."

In 2018 the Vikings offense is averaging 21.1 carries per game for 84.7 yards per tilt, a measly 1.9 rushes per game go for 10-plus yards, and 3.5 rushing first downs per game.

Compare that with last year: 31.1 carries per game for 122.3 yards per tilt, 3.0 rushes per game of 10-plus yards and 6.3 rushing first downs per game.

Dalvin Cook has fewer than 90 rushing yards in all five games he's played. The 84.7 rushing yards per game as a team is the second-fewest in the NFL (ahead of only the lowly Arizona Cardinals).

In Sunday night's 25-20 loss, the Vikings ran the ball 14 times for 22 yards against a good Bears defense.

"I thought early in the ballgame we ran the ball pretty well," Zimmer said. "Dalvin Cook had about an eight-yard run early and I know Latavius Murray had a nice run."

Behind an offensive line that opens no holes and generates little push, the Vikings' ground game has been woeful. Watching backs repeatedly get hit behind the line of scrimmage it's easy to see why DeFilippo might abandon running plays early in games.

The coach didn't explicitly call out his OC, but the message from the man in charge is clear: Run the ball more.

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