Dalvin Cook’s injury can’t stop ‘warrior’ from historic performance in Vikings win vs. Steelers

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11 days ago, Dalvin Cook dislocated his shoulder. On Thursday, he demolisted the Steelers.

There have been 155 games in NFL history where a running back has rushed for at least 200 yards. While Cook’s demolition of the Steelers on “Thursday Night Football” might not be a single-game record, it does stand out in the history books.

Cook powered the Vikings to a 36-28 win as he rushed for 205 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. His star performance came just a week after he was held out due to a dislocated shoulder.

Prior to Cook, only two running backs had ever rushed for 200-plus yards in a game after missing his team’s previous game, among matchups that were not the season-opener.

“I think he’s a warrior,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, according to ESPN. “He comes out and competes. He’s a great leader. He’s a great competitor. He wants to play. Eric Sugarman, our trainer, texted him today and said, ‘Hey, are you sure you’re OK and good to go?’ He said, ‘I have no regrets, I’m good to go.’ He said, ‘That’s why I do this, I want to play.'”

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Rushing for 200 yards is a rare feat in and of itself. To do it after not having played the previous game is even more impressive. The last player to do it was Derrick Henry on Dec. 29, 2019, when he rushed for 211 yards on 32 carries with three touchdowns against the Texans, according to data from Stathead. The week prior, he was held out against the Saints due to a hamstring injury.

The only other player to reach 200 rushing yards after missing his team’s previous game was Cardinals running back LeShon Johnson, who took 21 carries 214 yards against the Saints on Sept. 22, 1996, after not playing against the Patriots in Week 3. Prior to that game, he had games with one rush for minus-three yards and three rushes for seven yards.

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Cook had been unable to play in the team’s loss to the Lions in Week 13, after he dislocated his left shoulder against the 49ers in Week 12. He had been carted off the field during the team’s 34-26 loss to the 49ers, and it appeared at first like he would miss two games, according to ESPN.

However, Zimmer said earlier in the week he had a good chance to play, and of course, he did. Cook wore a harness to support his shoulder during the game, and donning the harness, he set a Vikings’ first-half record with 153 yards on 14 carries.

“The holes were big all night,” Cook said. “So you’ve gotta give those guys credit up front. They’re my guys. They did a great job of blocking for me tonight. Receivers, tight ends, everybody did a great job of blocking for me tonight. I’m just hitting holes and trying to find some space out there.”

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Against the Steelers, Cook had 13 carries for more than five yards, and averaged 10.9 yards per carry in the first half. Though he came back to earth in the second half, averaging four yards per carry, he was still a force, as he still took 13 carries to help the Vikings drain the clock. He was only tackled for a loss three times during the win.

NFL Next Gen Stats

Cook’s huge night was the second-most rushing yards in a single game in his career, behind only the 206 yards he posted against the Lions on Nov. 8, 2020. It was the ninth 200-yard-rushing game by a Minnesota running back. Adrian Peterson holds the NFL record for the most 200-yard-rushing games with six games of at least 200 yards on the ground, including one for an NFL-record 296 yards.

In games where a running back rushes for at least 200 yards, their teams are a combined 145-10. 



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