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Dalvin Cook Shows Toughness, Helps Establish Vikings Run Game Against Lions

MINNEAPOLIS – Dalvin Cook delivered on his promise.

After leaving Monday night's game at Seattle in the third quarter with an injury, Cook vowed he would be good to go on Sunday.

The running back played the entirety of the division matchup against Detroit, and if the chest injury still was bothering him, Cook certainly didn't let on.

Asked postgame if he felt any "residual effects," he responded that any soreness is part of the game.

"It's a physical game," Cook said. "I have to block, I take hits, blindside hits, so that is just a part of the game. You are going to feel aches and stuff like that, but I will be good. I'm a tough person."

Rookie Garrett Bradbury was impressed with Cook's resilience and commitment to his craft.

"Dalvin's a stud," Bradbury said. "He's going to come in and tell you he feels great. We love him, and he works so hard for this team and offense. We'd have liked to have gotten him some more yards today, so we'll go in, watch the film and see what we could have done better."

Cook recorded 18 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown, a 3-yard rushing score at the end of the first half.

Rather than taking much credit for one of Minnesota's two touchdowns on the day, Cook pointed to Stefon Diggs, who hauled in a 44-yard catch to set up first-and-goal.

"I have to give that one to Diggs," Cook said. "We all were talking about double dipping. We all were talking about getting the ball back before the end of the half and getting some more points. Three or seven, whatever.

"If we get the ball back before the end of the half, then we have to go get some more points," Cook continued. "We came out kind of stale, but it was important for us to get those points. That was big."

The Vikings run game wasn't flashy, but it was effective.

Minnesota got enough done on the ground to keep the defense guessing and control the clock en route to a 20-7 defeat of Detroit.

Alexander Mattison got in on the action with 46 yards on 14 carries, including a play during which he hurdled a defender.

"Matty was doing well," Zimmer said of Mattison. "It was good."

Mike Boone later came in, as well, and added five attempts for 13 yards.

Fullback C.J. Ham, who wore custom-designed cleats to honor his mother who is battling cancer, said the effort by Minnesota's running back room was a testament to depth at the position.

"This group is special, and no matter who's on the field, we know that we've gotta be playmakers," said Ham, who earned a big crowd reaction on a 25-yard catch midway through the second quarter. "We trust everybody out there."

The Vikings remained undefeated at home this season and improved to 9-4 as they look ahead to the final three regular-season games.

A win felt extra sweet after the tough loss at Seattle.

"It shows the character of the guys that we have in the locker room, our coaching staff, and everybody that we are surrounded by," Cook said. "We know when to battle back and win a football game. You saw it all week.

"Our guys practiced, and our coaches pushed us," he added. "We wanted to go out there, learn and get better."

If you ask Zimmer or Cook's teammates, they aren't surprised by his robust return to action.

"Dalvin is tough," Zimmer said. "He's a tough runner, a tough, physical runner. Good kid, great leader."

Added Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins: "He did a great job with his body this week, getting healthy, and then it was just a great encouragement to have him out there and try to keep our main unit as intact as possible."

The Vikings now will turn their focus to the Chargers, whom they will face Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.

And yes, Cook again plans on playing.

"I am good to go. It was a physical game; they have some big guys over there in Detroit," Cook said. "I came out healthy, clean, and that is probably the sign to go get ready for the Los Angeles Chargers next week."