Dalvin Cook, Vikings' run game could explode against bad Arizona defense

Arizona is allowing nearly 150 rushing yards per game.
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Dalvin Cook

Barring a setback, it appears that Dalvin Cook is healthy enough to return to his role as the lead back for the Vikings when they host the Arizona Cardinals at noon on Sunday. 

The Vikings haven't said if Cook will have a pitch count this week, but offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is glad to have him back. 

“Dalvin is a very, very gifted guy. We’ve all seen that," DeFilippo said Thursday. "Earlier this season, you saw that against the 49ers. First play of the game we basically throw him the ball, but it’s basically tossed. We basically just tossed the ball out there and nine yards. That one he had where he made eight guys miss or whatever, that was incredible. 

"I think it just adds another dynamic piece and a guy you can move around a lot and do some things with, unique things with and get creative. We are excited that he is back."

Cook injured his hamstring in a Week 2 overtime tie against the Packers. He missed a Week 3 loss to the Bills, was limited in Week 4 against the Rams and sat out last Sunday's victory in Philadelphia. 

Cook's 98 rushing yards rank second behind Latavius Murray's 107, but the glaring issue with Minnesota's 30th-ranked rushing attack is that no running back on the roster has had a run of longer than 15 yards. Even worse is that the Vikings are the only team in the NFL without a rushing touchdown. 

"We still have some work to do, especially in the run game. We have to be, we need to be better. I have no doubt that we will," said Murray in a Vikings.com video

The good news is that Minnesota faces the 30th-ranked rushing defense this week. Arizona is allowing 142.5 rushing yards per game, and they've surrendered a league-worst eight rushing touchdowns. 

Head coach Mike Zimmer thought the running game showed signs of improvement in last week's win over Philly. 

"I thought early in the game we had some pretty good balance, and really at the end of the game we ran the ball effectively to win," Zimmer said Thursday

"I really respect our offensive line and the things they do," Zimmer added. "In my opinion they're tough guys, they work really hard. They don't say boo, they keep fighting." 

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