Dalvin Cook's performance at Green Bay in which he became the first player to score a touchdown on a team's first four possessions of an NFL game since the 1970 NFL merger featured historic production — and a significantly rare workload.
Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune noted that Cook's 30 carries marked the first time in Head Coach Mike Zimmer's six-plus seasons to have one player tote the rock that many times in a game.
Cook's perpetual success throughout the game on the way to 163 yards and three scores on the ground, windy conditions that made down-field passing tough and playing with a lead all factored into Cook's heaping plateful. It reminded Goessling of former Viking Adrian Peterson, who is scheduled to play against Minnesota as a member of the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
It was almost reminiscent of the last running back to hold such a gilded position in Minnesota, days before he returns to U.S. Bank Stadium as a visitor on Sunday.
Adrian Peterson had six 30-carry games in his 10 seasons with the Vikings, the first coming when he broke the NFL's single-game rushing record with 296 yards as a rookie and the last coming in a 23-20 win over the Bears in 2013, Leslie Frazier's final season. Peterson sprained his foot the following week in Baltimore, and Matt Asiata carried 30 times in a Week 15 win over the Eagles, during which Peterson ambled into the Metrodome press box to let it be known he had lobbied to play hurt.
Since then — and even though Peterson won another rushing title playing for Zimmer in 2015 — the Vikings hadn't turned to one running back so much in a game before Cook's big day Sunday.
Cook ranks second in the NFL with 652 rushing yards and leads the league with 10 rushing scores despite missing half a game in Seattle and all of Week 6 against Atlanta.
Jefferson Picking Up Compliments from Legends
Cook's four-touchdown performance was just the third by a Viking in a game, joining running back Chuck Foreman in 1975 and Ahmad Rashad in 1979.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press caught up with Rashad, who was complimentary of Vikings rookie receiver Justin Jefferson and noted he isn't the only esteemed former athlete in his Florida neighborhood who has taken notice of Jefferson's prolific start. The first-round pick already has three games of 100-plus receiving yards. He leads all rookies with 563 yards and ranks third with 31 receptions.
[Michael] Jordan watches Vikings games nearly every week with former Minnesota star receiver Ahmad Rashad, his neighbor in Jupiter, Fla. Rashad said the basketball legend likes what he sees in Jefferson.
"He said, 'That kid's got a lot of talent,' "Rashad told Tomasson. "He's certainly impressed by that kid."
Jefferson, when told this during his media session Wednesday, said: "It's a great honor, to be honest. My dad loves [Jordan]. My dad was a basketball player who watched him a lot, so it's an honor to hear that from him."
Rashad, who is in the Vikings Ring of Honor, said he believes the 21-year-old "has a chance to be a big star."