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Lunchbreak: Cook Receives Early Votes for Offensive & Comeback Player of the Year

With the first eight weeks of the 2019 NFL season in the rearview mirror, analysts are making early predictions of playoff teams, Super Bowl contenders and individual award winners.

NFL.com on Tuesday published its “midseason award predictions,” in which 26 analysts placed their votes for Most Valuable Player, Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, Comebacker Player of the Year and Coach of the Year.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook received votes in three of the above categories.

Eight games into his third NFL season, Cook leads the league in rushing yards (823) and touchdowns (nine).

Four analysts (Gil Brandt, Gennaro Filice, James Jones and LaDainian Tomlinson) predicted that Cook will be named Offensive Player of the Year. Cook received the third-highest number of votes in that category behind Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (nine) and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (five).

Analysts Charley Casserly and Jeffri Chadiha both voted for Cook as the Comeback Player of the Year. The running back tore his ACL in Week 4 of his rookie campaign and last season missed five games with a hamstring injury. The top two vote-getters for Comeback Player were Rams WR Cooper Kupp (10) and 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (seven).

And don’t look now, but Cook also received a vote from Jim Trotter as a front-runner for the 2019 NFL MVP. McCaffrey also got one vote for the honor.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson received 11 votes apiece, and the next closest was Jackson with two.

CBS Sports picks Vikings over Chiefs ‘no matter’ who KC QB is

Will the Vikings (6-2) face Chiefs (5-3) backup quarterback Matt Moore in Kansas City on Sunday, or will star slinger Patrick Mahomes return to action?

Mahomes suffered a Week 7 knee injury against the Broncos and was replaced by Moore, who then started against the Packers on Sunday night.

Mahomes was limited as a limited participant in the Chiefs practice last week. The first injury report for Kansas City and Minnesota ahead of this weekend’s game will be released later today.

The Vikings will likely have to attack the game differently depending on which quarterback they face, but CBS Sports’ John Breech believes Minnesota will have the upper hand “either way” at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. His reasoning? The Vikings run game.

Breech wrote:

Going into Week [9], the Vikings have the NFL’s leading rusher in Dalvin Cook, and they’re also averaging 160.1 yards per game on the ground, which is the third-best number in the NFL this year. On the other hand, the Chiefs haven’t exactly been able to stop the run. Through eight weeks this season, the Chiefs are giving up 145.0 yards per game on the ground, which ranks ahead of only the Bengals and the Dolphins.

Breech made two score predictions: Vikings win 30-27 if Mahomes plays, or Vikings win 30-20 if Moore is in at quarterback for Kansas City.

And looking much farther ahead? Breech also said he “stands by” his preseason pick for a Vikings-Chiefs Super Bowl in February.

View exclusive black-and-white images from the Vikings-Redskins Primetime Purple game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Mattison supporting alma mater from afar

Rookie running back Alexander Mattison is off to a strong start for Minnesota. Through eight games, he has come in to spell Cook and has recorded 68 carries for 331 yards and one touchdown.

And while he’s far from his hometown of San Bernardino, California, Mattison is staying closely connected to the community and recently supported his alma mater, San Bernardino High School, by providing a pregame meal for the football team.

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