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Lunchbreak: Jones-Drew Highlights Way to Boost NFL RB Production in Week 2

Maurice Jones-Drew would like to see Dalvin Cook utilized more in Minnesota's passing game.

The former running back-turned-analyst delved recently into Week 1 and how often top backs recorded catches and not just carries.

He pointed out that Cook, who had 519 receiving yards last season, had just one catch for a 2-yard loss against Green Bay. Jones-Drew also noted that Christian McCaffrey was targeted just four times in Carolina, and "in the Chargers-Bengals tilt, Austin Ekeler and Joe Mixon combined for two catches and five receiving yards on three targets." Jones-Drew wrote:

I know it's only one game, but those receiving stats from the season openers aren'tanywhere closeto what we're accustomed to seeing from many of those backs. Passing the ball to running backs near the line of scrimmage is a safe play that can result in mega production.


Running backs are some of the most talented players on the field. Get them the ball in space and they'll go to work.

Jones-Drew then rolled out his top 15 running backs headed into Week 2, with Cook landing sixth on the list.

With the Vikings playing from behind for most of the game, Cook didn't get many chances to wear down the Packers run defense. He was efficient when he did get the rock, hitting pay dirt twice, but I can't get on board with the offense's best player … getting 13 total touches against a division rival.

It is worth reminding that Minnesota's limited time of possession (18:44) and lack of offensive snaps (52 compared to 78 by Green Bay) reduced opportunities for the entire offense.

Ranked second on Jones-Drew's list was Derrick Henry, whom the Vikings will face Week 3 when they host the Titans.

Henry didn't put up the overwhelmingly dominant performance in Monday's opener that we routinely saw late in the 2019 season, but even with a solid showing by the Broncos defense, the King of Nashville was one of just three players to reach 100 rushing yards in Week 1. The Titans offense was good enough to win this game several times over – and had to, given Stephen Gostkowski's four missed kicks. That's a good sign for the unit this early in the season.

Jones-Drew's full ranking is as follows: McCaffrey (Panthers), Henry (Titans), Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys), Alvin Kamara (Saints), Nick Chubb (Browns), Cook (Vikings), Josh Jacobs (Raiders), Mixon (Bengals), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs), Aaron Jones (Packers), Raheem Mostert (49ers), Ekeler (Chargers), Kenyan Drake (Cardinals), Saquon Barkley (Giants), Chris Carson (Seahawks).

Jared Allen & Kevin Williams among nominees for HOF Class of 2021

In their first year of eligibility, Vikings Legends Jared Allen and Kevin Williams both landed on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's list of 130 modern-era nominees for the Class of 2021.

Allen joined the Vikings in 2008 via trade and played in Purple through the 2013 season. Over his time in Minnesota, he earned four Pro Bowl nods and three times was named First-Team All-Pro by The Associated Press.

The Vikings drafted Williams ninth overall in 2003, and the defensive tackle spent all but two of his 13 NFL seasons in Minnesota. He appeared in six Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro honors five times.

Allen (85.5) and Williams (60) combined for 145.5 sacks of opposing quarterbacks during their time with the Vikings.

Other Vikings Legends included in the nominees for the Class of 2021 include QB Randall Cunningham, RB Hershel Walker, C Matt Birk, K Gary Anderson and K Ryan Longwell. Donovan McNabb, who made his case for the Hall over 11 seasons with the Eagles, also is on the list; he played for the Vikings in 2011 before retiring.

The full list of nominees consists of 65 offensive players, 49 defensive players and 16 special teams players. The list of Modern-Era nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and, from there, to 15 finalists in January.

Eighteen Finalists will be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual meeting on "Selection Saturday," the day before Super Bowl LV. The Finalists will consist of 15 Modern-Era Finalists and the recently named Senior Finalist, Drew Pearson; Contributor Finalist, Bill Nunn;and Coach Finalist, Tom Flores.

The Selection Committee will meet Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, in Tampa, Florida, to elect the Class of 2021. While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the selection process by-laws provide that between four and eight new members will be selected.