Lunchbreak: Continuing to Utilize Cook Will be ‘Key’ for Vikings Playoff Push

The Vikings have two more regular-season games left and are aiming to build off a 41-17 defeat of the Dolphins Sunday.

Minnesota’s offense under Interim Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski was the most balanced it’s been all season, producing more than 200 yards on the ground.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin said in a recent article that the use of running back Dalvin Cook “will be key” to a postseason push. She wrote:

Stefanski received praise from players for how he schemed Minnesota back into the win column after the Vikings had lost three of their previous four games. By employing a simple strategy in getting the ball to the team's most dynamic playmaker, Minnesota was able to keep its playoff hopes alive while foreshadowing how this offense will operate going forward.

Cronin quoted receiver Adam Thielen, who said Cook’s performance against Miami was “the guy we see every day in practice.”

“The guy that we've been waiting on to give those opportunities to and carry this offense,” Thielen said. “We know that's what kind of player he is and what he means to this offense. We're going to need that moving forward, and we’re going to ride that into the rest of the year.”

Cronin said that the Vikings “caught a glimpse” of how the Vikings offense can operate if Cook “is the focal point” of the system.

Next week, the challenge is Detroit, which held Buffalo to 117 yards rushing in a 14-13 loss. Stefanski can again pull back on what he learned under Shurmur to notch another critical win. At Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day in 2017, Minnesota went to Murray on four straight plays that spanned 75 yards and were capped off with a 2-yard touchdown en route to a 30-23 win.

That mindset of pounding the ball has worked when the Vikings have needed it to. Though it's too early to say whether Minnesota has remedied the issues that handicapped the offense at times, Stefanski found an effective work-around by putting the ball in the hands of his best playmaker; the one the Vikings need to operate around in order to make a deep run in the postseason.

Rudolph to be inducted into high school HOF

In his eighth season in Purple, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph will be inducted into a Cincinnati high school hall of fame.

Mike Dyer of WCPO Cincinnati wrote:

The Buddy LaRosa High School Hall of Fame has elected five individuals and two teams to its 2018 class.

The hall of fame is in its 44th year and has honored 274 individuals since 1975. The latest additions to the LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame will be officially inducted into the hall in ceremonies in June 2019.

The full list of 2018 inductees is below:

  • 1962 Wyoming High School Football Team
  • 1977 Mother of Mercy Volleyball Team
  • Chrissy Donovan, St. Ursula Academy, Class of 1999
  • Stephanie Edgar, Dayton High School, Class of 1990
  • Audra Falk, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Class of 2001
  • Jefferson Kelley, Colerain High School, Class of 1996
  • Kyle Rudolph, Elder High School, Class of 2008
  • Coach Dave Schuh, Bishop Brossart High School, 1980-Present

Dyer wrote the following of Rudolph’s high school career:

Kyle Rudolph was a dominating athlete in football and basketball during his remarkable high school career. He earned seven varsity letters for the Panthers – three in football, four in basketball.

[…]

Rudolph was named Maxwell Award winner as the nation’s No. 1 high school tight end and was named first team All-America by USA Today, Gatorade, Rise Magazine and was named a U.S. Army All-American. In his career at Elder he had 37 receptions for 623 yards, 11 touchdowns and even had a 37-yard punt average.

As a high school basketball star, the physical Rudolph owned the inside for Elder. He was only the second player in Greater Cincinnati League history to be named basketball player of the year three times. He set the Panthers’ school record in rebounding and ranks No. 2 all-time in scoring.

A Cincinnati Enquirer Player of the Year, he was also tabbed as the Southwest Ohio Basketball Association District Player of the Year and the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame Division I Player of the Year.

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