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Vikings thriving while riding Dalvin Cook's 'coattails'

The Minnesota Vikings' winning recipe is very simple: Feed Dalvin Cook.

The powerfully dynamic running back once again galloped for a 100-plus yard game, his third straight to open the season (only player in the NFL to accomplish the feat this year). Cook toted the ball 16 times for 110 yards in the Vikings34-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Much like the season-opening demolition, the Vikes rode Cook early and rode Cook often. The rest of the offensive players are just fine jumping on the running back's shoulders.

"We're riding his coattails," receiver Adam Thielen said, via the Minnesota Star-Tribune. "And I expect that to continue."

Cook became the first player in Vikings team history to rush for 100-plus yards in each of the team's first three games, per the Star-Tribune. For a franchise with a history of the likes of Chuck Foreman -- who was honored along with the rest of the 1969 team Sunday -- and Adrian Peterson, that's a telling stat.

"You had Chuck come through this thing, you had AP, those are some household names," Cook said. "So, to be a part of those guys ... that's great."

Cook's superlatives through three weeks have been sterling.

His 454 scrimmage yards in 2019 rank second in franchise history through the first three weeks of a season, trailing only Peterson's 2010 campaign (477 scrimmage yards). Cook leads the NFL with 130.8 scrimmage yards per game since Week 15, 2018. His 454 scrimmage yards this year are more than twice as many as the team's next closest player (Thielen, 174). His ridiculous 6.6 yards per carry is tops among all running backs with at least 20 totes.

It's impossible to discuss Cook without bringing up his past injuries. The running back has always been this type of player, one who can bulldoze linebackers, streak past defensive backs, cut on a lily pad, and make defenders repeatedly grasp for air. Cook's only issue through two years was his health, not ability.

He played just four games his rookie season and missed five in 2018. Before 2019, he'd only compiled two 100-yard rushing games in his career. Now he has five. He had four rushing TD's entering the season. Now he has eight.

As long as Cook stays healthy, the Vikings' offense will continue to ride the dynamic back, and the passing offense with Kirk Cousins, Thielen, and Stefon Diggs will remain in the holster until needed.

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