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3 Stats That Stood Out: Cardinals at Vikings

The Vikings scored all 13 points of the second half, erasing a two-point deficit and eventually toppling the Cardinals 20-9 on Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Dalvin Cook's 85-yard touchdown run put the Vikings on the board midway through the first quarter and was part of another successful rushing day for Minnesota, which is leading the NFL this preseason with 179.0 rushing yards per game.

Kyle Sloter helped lead Minnesota's final two touchdown drives. He was 6-of-7 passing for 102 yards with a touchdown toss to rookie fullback Khari Blasingame as the young players continued to make their cases by making plays.

Rookie receiver Bisi Johnson had a nice catch, spin move and run for extra yardage during Minnesota's rally.

The first-team defense, which is unlikely to play at Buffalo Thursday in the preseason finale, completed its exhibition slate without allowing a touchdown.

The Vikings continued to try new things on special teams and have one more week to get ready for the regular season.

Here are three stats that stood out:

1. 19.74 mph

According to NextGen Stats, Cook topped out at 19.74 miles per hour during his touchdown run.

Cook has run faster for the Vikings — he recorded the second-fasted speed of any ball carrier in the NFL in 2018, reaching 22.07 mph during his 70-yard run against Detroit in Week 9 ­— but it was his ability to accelerate through the handoff and then run through contact that were the most impressive aspects of the play.

Cook showed his quickness running right by defensive lineman Rodney Gunter, then planting his foot and changing direction to utilize blocks by Rashod Hill, Chad Beebe and Kyle Rudolph, who lined up as an outside receiver.

Cook then ran through a diving arm tackle by safety D.J. Swearinger, who made contact at the 33-yard line. Cook kept his feet and had more than enough juice to make it to the end zone.

It was a nice boost for the Vikings on a day when the first-team offense played without Adam Thielen and struggled to throw the football.

View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Cardinals competed against each other in a preseason matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium.

2. Flipping time of possession

The halves were markedly different for the Cardinals and Vikings when it came to their offenses staying on the field.

Arizona ran a whopping 47 plays in the first half, possessed the ball for 20:30 and had a pair of 12-play drives that ended in field goals.

The Cardinals, however, ran just 23 plays on five possessions in the second half and didn't have a drive last longer than 3:59.

The Vikings flipped the script after running just 24 plays during the 9:30 that they possessed the ball in the first half. After intermission, Minnesota ran 39 plays, including 29 in the fourth quarter when it took the lead and put the game away.

The Vikings won time of possession in the second half 18:53 to 11:07.

3. 29 and 29

The Vikings rushed 29 times and attempted 29 passes, which some might say demonstrates balance within the offense.

Game situations like a 2-minute drill with frequent passes or having the lead late and wanting to run out the clock can alter an offensive plan.

The Vikings were efficient in the run game, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. An 85-yarder will generally balloon a rushing average, but the Vikings also had solid rushes from other players.

Alexander Mattison replaced Cook and had a 10-yard rush, and Mike Boone's 10 carries for 41 yards were highlighted by a 20-yard rush. Ameer Abdullah gained 7 on his only carry, and De'Angelo Henderson had a 9-yard run on one of his 10 carries.

Through Week 3 of the preseason, the Vikings lead the NFL in yards/game (411.3), yards/play (6.5), rushing yards/game (179.0) and rushing yards/play (5.7).

Minnesota's offseason emphasis on improving the run game is showing up in the preseason.