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Vikings Rushing Attack Tops 200 Yards in Rout of Raiders

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings had proven they could run the ball effectively early on in 2019, entering Sunday's contest tied for second in the league with 370 total rushing yards.

Somehow, Minnesota's ground game keeps getting better.

The Vikings took it to another level in a convincing 34-14 win against the Raiders, as Minnesota steamrolled its way to a season-high 211 rushing yards, the fifth-most in a game under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

And yes, the head coach is impressed with the entire operation, which has helped turn running back Dalvin Cook into a star less than a month into the season.

"No. 1, our coaches are doing a good job scheming," Zimmer said. "No. 2, I think the offensive line is doing a good job of getting on the right people and creating space. [Dalvin] doesn't need a lot of space because he's really good at slithering through holes.

"But maybe the most impressive thing with him is that it's tough to tackle him," Zimmer added. "He never wants to go down. He's a physical runner with great speed and home-run ability."

While Minnesota had 211 total rushing yards, the Vikings ended the game with a pair of kneel-downs, meaning the output was really 213 yards on 36 attempts, good for 5.9 yards per carry.

Cook, who began Week 3 as the NFL's leading rusher with 265 yards, tacked on 110 more on just 16 carries and added a 1-yard touchdown run.

In six games with Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski calling plays, he has four games with more than 100 yards on the ground.

Additionally, Cook joined Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith and Curtis Martin as the only running backs to record 110-plus rushing yards and at least one score in at least three straight games to start a season.

"You had Chuck come through this team, and AP [Adrian Peterson], some household names," Cook said. "Just to be a part of those guys, it's great."

While Cook certainly wore down the Raiders defense, he also provided a handful of flashy plays to go along with his hard-nosed running style.

Cook had a 25-yard run where he made defenders miss, and also scooted for 15 yards on a run play on second-and-15.

"I think he broke like three tackles on that one, too," Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen said of Cook's 25-yard run. "He's a guy where it's kind of fun where we get in those tough situations, because we go in the huddle and we have confidence.

"We have the guys up front and they're grinding on people, and then we have a back that is very explosive," Thielen added. "It doesn't matter where we're at on the field."

Alexander Mattison took cues from Cook's athletic play to score his first NFL touchdown, as the rookie running back scored from 10 yards out in the third quarter while hurdling Oakland safety Curtis Riley.

Mattison, who finished with 58 yards on 12 carries, described his first professional score.

"It felt great. Just to get in there and do things the right way," Mattison said. "The guys up front, they blocked it perfectly, and so it was just one of those things where you go in there and try and use your training, use what you've done and just be special.

"It's instinctual," Mattison added. "I ran hurdles in high school, did long jump in high school, so it's something I kind of have in my back pocket that I just keep there until it's time to bring it out."

Cook said he was thrilled for Mattison to find the end zone.

"That's my little brother, man. We've been grinding since he came into this thing," Cook said. "It's never been a 'me show' or 'I show,' it's been all about the collective group.

"We all bring something different," Cook added. "Seeing Alex get his first touchdown, I definitely was proud of him."

Mike Boone added 28 yards on three carries, as each running back had at least one carry of 20-plus yards on the day.

As Zimmer said early on in his press conference, there is plenty of credit to be passed around, especially to Minnesota's offensive line.

"It's fun, but it's fun to win," said Vikings tackle Brian O'Neill. "The reason we're able to keep doing that is that we were doing it well. Dalvin was hitting it hard.

"They kept calling it because we were executing," O'Neill added. "But we have a lot of improvements to make. We're going to get back to work Wednesday."

Added Cook: "We're rewarding those guys, but they don't get a lot of rewards because they do the dirty work. To rack them yards up — at one point we looked over and we were at 150 — but the guys said, 'Let's keep going.' When you've got that type of mentality up front, you definitely want to run the football."

Next up? A Week 4 road game in Chicago against a stingy Bears defense that allowed just 85 total rushing yards and no touchdowns on 29 attempts in two wins over Minnesota in 2018.

Bring it on, said Cook, who now has 375 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 57 carries so far in 2019.

"I feel great. It's back to work tomorrow to get my body ready to play another football game," Cook added. "It's part of my routine, and it's been drilled in me since preseason. I've been getting ready, I'm in shape and I'm ready to play."