Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

November 29, 2018 at 2:10 am.

–Running back Dalvin Cook scored his first touchdown of the season and his first receiving touchdown in the NFL in last week’s game and he’ll be an important factor again versus New England. The Patriots are 14th in the league in allowing 107.7 rushing yards per game. Minnesota has only had three games this season with at least 100 yards rushing as a team but is 3-0 in those games. Cook had 76 yards from scrimmage and the Vikings ran for 91 yards in Sunday’s win against Green Bay.

“When he gets in space he’s pretty good,” head coach Mike Zimmer said this week. “We got in space and that is another weapon. They’re really zeroing in on (Adam) Thielen and (Stefon) Diggs and rightfully so. But when you get the ball to (Kyle) Rudolph, you get the ball to Cook, you get the ball to (Laquon) Treadwell or (Aldrick) Robinson, that helps the entire deal. Then you get a better chance to get the ball to the other two guys.”

–Quarterback Kirk Cousins is one of only three quarterbacks in the NFL with at least a 70 percent completion percentage, 3,000 yards passing and a 100.0 passer rating. Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are the others. Cousins is fifth in the NFL with 3,289 passing yards, which is a Vikings record for most passing yards through the first 11 games of a season. Cousins outdueled Aaron Rodgers last week by completing 29 of his 38 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns.

–Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has been a strong addition to Minnesota’s already-stout defensive line this season. Richardson had two sacks of Rodgers last week and has 3.5 sacks this season.

“He’s very, very athletic and he’s got really good strength,” Zimmer said. “One of the things we look for in our three-technique is first-step quickness and then lateral quickness, and he has those things really well. But the thing that kind of surprised me a little bit is the power that he has with it.”

–Thielen continues his record-setting pace after hauling in eight catches for 125 yards and a touchdown last week. Thielen is first in the league with 93 receptions. It’s the third-most in the NFL history through 11 games to start a season. Thielen had 91 catches all of last season when he was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time and he has a chance Sunday at his first 100-reception season. Only two players in history have reached 100 receptions by the 12th game of the season. Indianapolis’ Marvin Harrison accomplished the feat in 11 games in 2002. Atlanta’s Julio Jones hit the mark in 12 games in 2015.

–Rudolph is slated to start his 100th career game on Sunday at New England. Rudolph has started 60 consecutive games, a current league-leading mark among tight ends.

–Minnesota’s defense is back to being one of the league’s top units. In the past seven games, the Vikings have allowed just 276.6 yards per game, the third-lowest total in the NFL during that span. Minnesota has allowed just four runs of 15 or more yards in 2018, the fewest in the league. For the second straight season, the Vikings lead the NFL in third-down defense, holding opponents to a 27.6 percent conversation rate.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – Minnesota’s trend continued on Sunday night against Green Bay when the Vikings were plus-1 in turnover margin. They are 4-0 this season with a positive number in turnover differential. Minnesota is 1-3-1 when it loses the turnover battle. The Vikings are plus-2 for the season in turnover differential. Only six teams have more than Minnesota’s 18 takeaways. Only eight teams have more than their 16 giveaways. New England is plus-5 with 18 takeaways and just 13 giveaways.