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Vikings Credit Team Effort for Running Game's Breakout Day

EAGAN, Minn. — There was a scene that kept repeating itself over and over again in the Vikings 27-17 win over Arizona on Sunday.

It was the sight of Latavius Murray breaking into the secondary on a long run.

The Vikings didn't have a 20-yard run by a running back entering last weekend but had five of them against the Cardinals. Murray had four such runs (of 34, 28 and 26 yards, plus a 21-yard touchdown), and fellow running back Mike Boone had a 20-yard scamper on his only carry of the game.

But the effort to get to 195 total rushing yards was a combined one, with running backs partnering with offensive linemen, tight ends and wide receivers alike to produce Minnesota's best rushing attack of the season.

"Yeah, it just felt good to put together a running game," Murray said. "That's how we want to run the ball this year.

"We just have to put that kind of performance together week-in and week-out, and that will help out everything we want to do on offense," Murray added Murray.

Murray did most of the damage on the ground with a career-high 155 yards on 24 carries.

But others played a part in his success, too.

Vikings wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs said their unit took pride in helping spring Murray on his quartet of lengthy runs.

"It's exciting for this team, for this offense. We know what those guys can do back there. We know this offensive line can block," Thielen said. "We had so much confidence going into this season because of what we were able to do in training camp and the preseason games. We know what we can do at a high level, but again, it's complementary football.

"When our defense is playing well, when we're doing well in the pass game, it opens up that running game. If we're blocking on the outside, it opens a lot of things, too," Thielen said. "If we're blocking on the outside, a 5-yard run could turn into a 30- or 40-yard run like you saw last week. A lot of times, it's on us as receivers to make sure we're having a good running game."

Added Diggs: "As far as everybody doing their jobs blocking for him, the O-line was doing a hell of a job. Blocking on the perimeter really breaks guys free so everybody was just trying to do their job. But [Murray] did a great job."

Thielen is on a historic streak as he has racked up at least 100 receiving yards in each of Minnesota's first six games. But the All-Pro said his main focus going into Sunday's game against Arizona was helping out in the ground game.

"I think in the run game, that was a big emphasis for me last week, because I've been terrible in the run game," Thielen said. "I felt like I did a little better job last week but still could get a lot better.

"Those are the things that people don't really see but help your team win games," Thielen added. "I wasn't doing a good enough job there."

Tight end Kyle Rudolph explained the pride the entire offense feels when the Vikings offense gets going on the ground.

"It was big. [Vikings co-offensive line coach] Clancy [Barone] made a point of thanking the receivers, you know, we don't rush for almost 200 yards if those guys on the outside aren't blocking down the field," Rudolph said. "For us, it's part of our job description. We're in it more on a daily basis than the receivers are, so it's big for us as tight ends because a lot of the times that just gets overlooked.

"You're kind of expected to do it, but when you don't do it, it shows up. But when you do do it, it often goes unnoticed. That's how we would like to keep it. We would like to go unnoticed, because if we're getting noticed, that's probably not a good thing in the run game," Rudolph added. "I felt like, as a tight ends room, that was probably one of our best blocking performances that we've had in a long time around here. So like I said before, we knew going into that game that it was going to be one where we have to just lean on them and wear them down for four quarters, and we were able to do that."

Rudolph and David Morgan had blocks that helped spring Murray on his touchdown, and Rudolph also made the key block on a 7-yard touchdown run by Kirk Cousins.

"I just tried to give him as much space and as much field as he could have because Kirk's an athletic guy, and I knew that, if 41 (Antoine Bethea) was worrying about me, he wouldn't be able to bring Kirk down," Rudolph said. "He's the only guy on that play who would have been able to make a stop, so I just tried to get on him as fast as possible and drive my feet, move him downfield and displace him from his alignment. And Kirk did the rest."

The Vikings will try for more success Sunday against a Jets defense that ranks 17th in the NFL by allowing 108.7 rushing yards per game.

"It's a mentality and it's a mindset," Murray said. "I think when you come off the ball and the backs are running hard, I think that establishes a mindset and mentality early on.

"When you're able to keep that mindset and mentality, I feel it wears on the defense and [forces] them to make a decision on whether or not they want to be in for that kind of [physicality] all day," Murray added.