The Vikings endured some bumps in the road in the first quarter of the 2020 season, as Minnesota is 1-3 and has plenty of work to do to try and get itself in the playoff race.
But one positive is the recent performance of the Vikings offense, as running back Dalvin Cook and wide receiver Justin Jefferson have been a pair of bright spots.
That duo was recently named to Pro Football Focus’ 1st-Quarter All-Pro Team, as the analytics website highlighted the league's top players through the first four games thus far.
Cook, who leads the league with 424 rushing yards and six touchdowns, was the choice at running back by PFF writer Sam Monson. Cook has an overall PFF grade of 83.6.
Every time you watch Cook play, you see him generating yardage that wasn't there from the play design or blocking and only happened because he made a guy miss, attacked a soft shoulder, or took the right angle with his running. His grade has improved each week of the season, and after a month of play, he has four straight games with a rushing average of over [four] yards per attempt, despite some awful blocking in that period. He is averaging 3.6 yards after contact per carry; he has broken a league-leading 21 tackles and ranks sixth league-wide with an elusive rating of 91.9, with more touches than any of the players ahead of him on that list.
Jefferson was one of two wide receivers, joining Arizona's DeAndre Hopkins.
The 2020 first-round pick leads the Vikings with 348 receiving yards. That total ranks eighth in the NFL and is the fourth-most by a rookie through four games to start an NFL career. His 16 catches include one score.
The lone rookie on PFF's 1st-quarter team, Jefferson has a grade of 90.6 thus far.
Jefferson is the only rookie to make this All-Pro team, and it's largely on the strength of just two games. Though Jefferson has played in all four weeks, he wasn't a starter for the first two and was largely deployed in the slot as the third receiver in an offense that doesn't really target that player. When he was given the keys to the vacated Stefon Diggs role in Week 3, he set about putting on a show, earning back-to-back PFF grade above 91.0 and catching 11 passes for 278 yards and a score. Despite the drag of those first two games, Jefferson leads all wideouts in yards per route run (3.7) and is top-10 in receiving yards.
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was listed on PFF's Second Team with a grade of 87.6.
Thielen has a team-high 20 catches and has 284 receiving yards and four touchdowns so far in 2020.
Vikings safety Harrison Smith was also a Second-Team selection with a grade of 78.1.
He has an interception, two passes defensed and a tackle for loss this season.
Doepner earns awards from MSP Business Journal
A Vikings employee has earned recognition from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Anne Doepner, who is the team's Director of Inclusion & Employee Investment, was recently recognized for her work promoting diversity and inclusion for all within the Twin Cities communities.
Mollee Francisco of the Business Journal highlighted Doepner's impact on the organization.
Last year, Doepner took on the position of director of inclusion and employee investment for the NFL club after nearly 13 years as its director of football administration, where she negotiated player contracts and managed the salary cap for the Vikings. At the time, Doepner was one of only two women in the entire NFL negotiating player contracts. Now she is working to create programming and structure from the ground up to help the Vikings lead in areas of equity and inclusion.
Doepner is a wife and mother of two, and she founded the Twin Cities chapter of Women in Sports & Events in 2017.
She was asked what advice she would give to young women today.
"Be your own advocate," Doepner said. "Don't wait around for an opportunity to be handed to you. Look for the areas in which you can contribute or add something and then go get it. Even if it scares you or you don't feel quite ready — go get it anyway!"
Doepner also leads the Vikings Diversity and Inclusion Council, which is comprised of eight internal staff members.