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Lunchbreak: Cook Among Rookie Standouts Early in NFL Season

Posted Sep 19, 2017

The Vikings made a move to get their man in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft when they traded up seven spots to get Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.

Cook is off to a strong start to his NFL career as he’s totaled 191 rushing yards on 34 carries through two games. 

ESPN writer Courtney Cronin noted that Cook, who is third in the NFL in rushing yards, has been a rookie to watch early in the season.

Cronin wrote: 

He continued to shoulder the load for the Vikings running backs and came within a yard of scoring his first touchdown. Out of 65 total plays, Cook was in on 37 snaps and turned 12 carries into 64 yards. The Vikings ran Cook out of the shotgun on a 25-yard outside rush he took all the way inside the 1-yard line. That play set up fullback C.J. Ham for a score on the next drive, the only time Minnesota made it into the end zone in Week 2.

Minnesota found itself behind the chains often on Sunday, so Cook wasn’t utilized all that much in the passing game.

Cook has turned in a pair of strong second-half performances in the first two games of the season, as 166 of his 191 rushing yards have come in the final halves of his first two outings.

He also has a run of 25-plus yards in each game so far this season.

Cook holds Florida State’s single-season rushing record and broke Warrick Dunn’s career rushing record with the Seminoles. The two-time All-American totaled 4,464 yards and 46 touchdowns on 687 carries (6.5 yards per carry) and added 79 receptions for 935 yards and two scores in his college career.

Coller: Barr playing well early in 2017

The Vikings have a plethora of stars of the defensive side of the ball, a group that includes linebacker Anthony Barr.

Barr has been to two straight Pro Bowls but said this offseason he was looking for bigger and better things in 2017.

Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com recently wrote that Barr has been a key piece to a Vikings defense that has played well early in the season.

Coller wrote:

He hasn’t picked up a “splash” play outside of one tackle for a six-yard loss, but Barr has been noticeably more effective over the first two weeks than during much of last season. Against the Steelers, he was solid in coverage and was part of an effort to keep Le’Veon Bell mostly contained. Barr hasn’t gone after the passer more than last year, but has produced pressures at a solid rate over the first two games. These are good signs as a large part of the Vikings success on defense rests on their Pro Bowl linebacker. 

Barr has 17 total tackles (according to coaches’ tally) with a tackle for loss through the first two games in 2017.