Mike Zimmer needed to fire his offensive coordinator, but the Vikings' coach finally got his way: Minnesota ran the ball.
The Vikings finally displayed the type of offense most expected to enter the season: A dynamic Cook supplemented by a play-action passing attack that spins defenses brains.
"That's the guy that we see every day in practice and the guy that we've been waiting to get those opportunities and to let him carry this offense," Adam Thielen said of Cook, via The Athletic. "We know that's what kind of player he is. We know what he means to this offense. We're going to need that moving forward, and we're going to ride him the rest of the year."
The change in coordinators helped unleash the run game this week.
"I love that," Cook said of his workload. "We got the win, so we love that. When the ball gets in my hands, I am going to try to make a play every time. No matter if I get 10, five. No matter how many carries I get. My job is to make plays. Today, I went out there and made a few plays."
Make plays he did, like this little ditty:
For instance, the Vikings lined quarterback Kirk Cousins under center more this week than they had under the old OC. According to Next Gen Stats, Minnesota aligned in a shotgun formation on 65.6 percent of their offensive plays under John DeFilippo. Sunday, they aligned in shotgun on 31.7 percent of their plays in Week 15 (season-low).
As coach Mike Zimmer pointed out after the victory, play action is much tougher to defend when the signal-caller is under center. On Sunday, Cousins went 6-for-6 for 103 yards and a TD on play-action when under center, per ESPN's Courtney Cronin
The change at offensive coordinator coupled with Cook's breakout has the Vikings believing they can galvanize into the Super Bowl-caliber squad most envisioned.
"I think it gives the offensive players some confidence. Most of them were excited this week," Zimmer said, "about the possibility of playing football the way we did today."