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Cook's 85-yard TD highlights Vikings' 20-9 win vs. Cards

Sat Aug 24 4:52pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Michael Crabtree, Dan Bailey, Kirk Cousins, Brett Hundley, Zane Gonzalez, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Kaare Vedvik, KeeSean Johnson, Mike Boone, Kyler Murray

In this Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018 file photo, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Detroit. With rookie Alexander Mattison at the top of the candidate list and Ameer Abdullah returning after a late-season arrival last year, the Minnesota Vikings are looking for another running back to emerge as a reliable complement to Dalvin Cook. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez, File)


Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (97) pressures Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, right, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs from Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck, right, after making a reception during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs from Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (95) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Arizona Cardinals place kicker Zane Gonzalez (5) kicks a 32-yard field goal in front of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes, left, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook celebrates with teammate CJ Ham (30) after scoring on an 85-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Arizona Cardinals defenders Tramaine Brock (20) and D.J. Swearinger (36) during an 85-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins runs off the field during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Dalvin Cook had an 85-yard touchdown run for Minnesota, the highlight of an otherwise rough first half by the first-team offense during a 20-9 victory by the Vikings over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.

Cook scored early and Mike Boone crossed the goal line late, as the Vikings totaled 190 yards on 29 carries. The ground game was by far the best development of an afternoon when Kirk Cousins went just 3 for 13 for 35 yards while taking two sacks and Kaare Vedvik missed field goals from 43 and 54 yards.

Rookie Kyler Murray, the first overall pick in the draft to whom new coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals have turned to lead the reconstruction project, was relatively sharp while going 14 for 21 for 137 yards over the five possessions against a Vikings defense that was almost at full strength. Three of the drives ended with a successful field goal by Zane Gonzalez, a result that surely made the Vikings envious.

Vedvik, who has been given an extended evaluation as both a kicker and a punter, made both of his extra point attempts, at least, while incumbent Dan Bailey took the afternoon off. Matt Wile punted six times for an average of 47.3 yards, leaving no more clarity about the specialists than when the month began.

Cousins was under frequent pressure and had multiple passes knocked down at the line, including one deflection by rookie Zach Allen, who had a half-sack. Another Cardinals draft pick, KeeSean Johnson, stood out on the other side of the ball with seven receptions for 85 yards on seven targets.

One of the most discouraging aspects of the performance for Kingsbury and his staff were the 14 penalties for 111 yards, including two false starts called on backup quarterback Brett Hundley in a three-snap stretch late in the second quarter for apparently lifting his leg to signal a receiver to start his motion.

THE LONG RUN

The Cardinals were last in the league last season in rushing defense, allowing an average of nearly 155 yards per game that was bumped up by the Vikings here last Oct. 14 in a 27-17 victory fueled by a career-high 155 rushing yards from Latavius Murray.

Cook made the Cardinals look bad again, when he took a handoff to the left and veered right behind a key seal block by new right guard Josh Kline. The new zone blocking scheme directed by offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, senior offensive adviser Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Rick Dennison ought to be a good fit for Cook with his keen cutback ability. The touchdown run was the longest in a preseason game in Vikings history, topping a 76-yarder by Jordan Todman in 2012.

SITTING OUT

Cardinals: New WR Michael Crabtree, the 11th-year veteran who signed with the team earlier this week, did not suit up. Neither did CB Patrick Peterson, the eight-time Pro Bowl pick facing a six-game suspension to start the regular season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancers.

Vikings: DT Linval Joseph, who joined the team for practice this week for the first time since offseason shoulder surgery, was held out of the starting lineup, as was SS Harrison Smith. On offense, WR Adam Thielen rested, and RT Brian O'Neill stayed on the sideline again, after returning to the field this week following a three-week absence because of a right arm injury.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Play at Denver on Thursday night in their final exhibition game. The regular-season opener is Sept. 8 against Detroit.

Vikings: Play at Tennessee on Thursday night in their final exhibition game. The regular-season opener is Sept. 8 against Atlanta.

Player Notes
Jalen Richard Sep 19 7:20pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard is firmly planted as a distant backup to Josh Jacobs this season after dominating touches for the offense in 2018. He's picked up just five touches through two games so far for a total of eight measly yards after leading the team with 68 receptions a year ago. Richard was a valuable pass-catcher last season, but with more weapons added to the passing game, it appears Richard is starting to fade away in this offense. Jacobs is dealing with a hip issue as well as an illness so he may see a few more touches this week versus the Vikings, but he carries no standalone value in any format. Unless Jacobs misses significant time, Richard can be ignored for fantasy purposes.

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Rashaad Penny Sep 19 7:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny led the team in rushing last week, but it was really because of one big run that he got fortunate on. Penny lumbered 37 yards for a touchdown on a broken play where he cut back to the other side of the field and used lead blocker Russell Wilson to make way for him. Outside of that single run, Penny has carried the ball 15 times for 43 yards in the first two weeks, averaging less than 3.0 YPC. While starter Chris Carson has been catching some passes, Penny has caught just one for three yards. At this point, Penny needs to hit a huge run to matter. Outside of that, he continues to be a disappointment.

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Tyler Lockett Sep 19 7:20pm ET

Coming off a big week where he snagged 10 passes for 79 yards, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett gets to face another one of the softest secondaries in the league. So far, wide receivers have scored the sixth-most fantasy points against the Saints Defense this season, and Lockett's quickness and route running should keep the passes headed his way. Lockett has received a surprising amount of support from teammate D.K. Metcalf after many thought Metcalf wouldn't be useful, and Metcalf's presence has freed up Lockett to juke and slide his way through coverage with ease. Seattle's offense is always one where the ball can go anywhere, so he's not a lock, but it looks like it should be another good week for Lockett owners.

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Russell Wilson Sep 19 7:10pm ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told the media on Wednesday that he's sad that Drew Brees won't be out there on the field on Sunday. Wilson mentioned that he's close friends with Brees, who he also said is one of his favorite players of all time. Wilson will instead be facing off against Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, though it will likely be the New Orleans defense that he's paying more attention to. The Saints Defense has struggled so far, and Wilson has been lights out up to this point. Completing 78% of his passes and racking up five touchdowns through the first two games, owners should expect another consistent performance by Wilson in Week 3.

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Chris Carson Sep 19 7:10pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson will be facing the best run defense he's seen this year when he welcomes the Saints to Seattle on Sunday. That said, the biggest thing that may help pad Carson's stats is the lack of Drew Brees in the New Orleans huddle. Without Brees, the Saints enter the game as a four-point underdog, and if Seattle can get out to a fast start, Carson could see a considerable amount of ground work later in the game. The coaching staff has made good on their promise that Carson would see more work through the air too, and he's already racked up nine catches for 61 yards and a score over the first two weeks. Expect to see a lot of opportunities again on Sunday, and he should be able to put up solid numbers.

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Deshaun Watson Sep 19 6:40pm ET

When the Los Angeles Chargers signed 36-year-old linebacker Thomas Davis over the offseason, the question was whether he would still have it. That seems to be clear now. After two weeks, Davis is tied with former Defensive Player of the Year and former teammate Luke Kuechly for the league lead in tackles. It's been a blessing that the Davis signing has worked out so well since the Chargers Defense is riddled with key injuries. After losing Derwin James before the season, LA lost Adrian Phillips in the Detroit game. The continued losses means it's a tough sell to believe the Chargers defense can hold up against Deshaun Watson and company, but Davis will certainly be leading the charge.

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Mike Williams Sep 19 6:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams will be facing off against his college teammate Deshaun Watson for the first time as a pro on Sunday. Obviously, the two won't be going head-to-head on any given snap, but it will be the first time they've been on opposite sidelines on the field. Williams and Watson gained national attention their starring duo helped lead Clemson to a national title in 2016, and they're still close friends. Williams will be trying to build on his career-high 83-yard game from last week, and he'll be facing a secondary that has struggled so far. Williams is still a home run play because Keenan Allen is the man in LA, but owners should be prepared for Williams to break out in any game.

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Jamaal Williams Sep 19 6:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams should be benched by fantasy owners this week. The running back position has been dominated by Aaron Jones, even though Williams has been more involved in passing plays. However, the Packers are the home favorite, meaning that they are unlikely to be utilizing Williams' pass-catching ability. Fantasy owners should still hold Williams on their roster, but he doesn't hold much fantasy value this week.

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Davante Adams Sep 19 6:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams faces a tough personal matchup this week. Adams is likely to find himself matched up against one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Chris Harris Jr. Harris was effective last week in limiting the impact of Chicago Bears lead receiver Allen Robinson. However, Robinson isn't as talented at running routes as Adams and has an inferior quarterback throwing him the ball. Adams is an elite talent, therefore meaning he is effectively a must-start every week, but this week the matchup means his upside is limited and Aaron Rodgers may look for easier matchups.

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Michael Thomas Sep 19 6:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas may be missing his starting quarterback, but that shouldn't stop the fourth-year wide receiver from contributing in a potentially juicy Week 3 matchup against Seattle. Teddy Bridgewater peppered Thomas with targets last week after Brees was forced to leave the game due to injury, and there's no reason to believe the game plan will change without the Saints No.1 quarterback under center. Seattle has allowed a downright ugly 575 yards through the air so far this season, so moving the ball should not be an issue for the Saints. Expect Thomas to get his usual 10-plus targets this week, slotting him in as a low-end WR1 even with the loss of his starting quarterback.

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Aaron Rodgers Sep 19 6:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues his series of tough matchups this week against the Denver Broncos. Rodgers flashed at the start of last week's matchup but struggled as the game progressed, as well as appearing to suffer some type of arm injury in the game. The Broncos are one of the better units against the run this season, so the Packers may have to rely on Rodgers' arm to get things done. However, the Broncos are one of the more effective units against quarterbacks this season, giving up just 10.1 points to the position. Rodgers should be an effective fantasy option this week, but he doesn't have week-winning upside.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Sep 19 6:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones is a must-start this week against the Denver Broncos. Jones was highly effective as a battering ram all game for the Packers in Week 2 and is likely to be used the same way for this matchup. Jones is clearly the lead back in the offense with over double the touches of teammateJamaal Williams. The Broncos have shown their ability to limit running back production so far this season, limiting rushers to an average of 3.47 yards per carry and three touchdowns. However, this week the Broncos will not be able to stack the box while facing Aaron Rodgers. As a home favorite, the game script should allow Jones to be involved throughout the game, making him a must-start for fantasy owners.

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Tre'Quan Smith Sep 19 6:00pm ET

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Austin Ekeler Sep 19 6:00pm ET

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Justin Jackson Sep 19 6:00pm ET

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Philip Rivers Sep 19 5:50pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is set to start his 211th consecutive game on Sunday when the team faces the Texans. That start will pass Eli Manning and give Rivers sole possession of second place on the all-time Iron Man list behind Brett Favre. While the accomplishment was always going to be noteworthy, it is especially magnified this week since Manning just got benched and Ben Roethlisberger, Rivers' other famous draft classmate, was placed on IR this week with an elbow injury. Rivers will match up against a Texans Defense that hasn't looked as intimidating as in years past, and owners should expect him to put up excellent numbers once again.

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Taysom Hill Sep 19 5:40pm ET

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Alvin Kamara Sep 19 5:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara is an explosive fantasy play on any weekend, but with the news that quarterback Drew Brees will be sidelined for at least the next month, Kamara figures to take on a bigger role in the Saints offense against Seattle. While head coach Sean Payton has oscillated on who will see the most snaps under center, its without a doubt that Kamara will be the bellcow out of the backfield. After carrying the ball 13 times in each of the first two weeks, he is still yet to find the end zone, something the Saints will likely need to occur if theyre to snag a road victory. If there is an area of concern, its that Kamaras high DFS price tag may make some owners shy away, as he reeled in just one reception last week without the aid of Brees over 60 minutes.

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Ronald Jones II Sep 19 5:10pm ET

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T Y Hilton Sep 19 5:00pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) was limited in practice for the second straight day on Thursday. His injury is not serious and he will play in Week 3 against the Falcons in the team's home opener. Going up against an explosive Falcons offense, the Colts may need to throw often in this one to keep up, making Hilton a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 play. He should be in all starting lineups.

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