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‘Great Game’ Predicted for Dalvin Cook


It could be a spotlight evening Monday for Dalvin Cook when the Vikings play in Philadelphia against the Eagles. The leaky Philly defense allowed 181 rushing yards on 28 carries in a 38-35 win over the Lions last weekend.

The Eagles were inefficient on defense and sloppy in their tackling Sunday while allowing 6.5 yards per carry. The Lions and many other NFL teams don’t have anyone as talented as Cook who at age 27 is coming off three consecutive seasons of rushing for over 1,000 yards.

The Eagles’ defense will for sure focus on controlling wide receiver Justin Jefferson who made headlines with a spectacular season debut last Sunday catching nine passes for 184 yards and two scores in Minnesota’s 23-7 win over the Packers. “We’ll just see what the defense gives us and we’ll try to take advantage of it,” Viking tight end Johnny Mundt told Sports Headliners.

Dalvin Cook photo courtesy of Minnesota Vikings

Cook, who rushed for 90 yards against the Packers on 20 rushes, could see big holes to run through Monday night. Even if Cook doesn’t the former All-Pro, has a way of finding daylight. Mundt said Cook seems to know where defenders will be and what they will do, allowing him to be a step ahead of tacklers.

“I think we’re going to spread the ball around really well (Monday night),” Mundt said. “I think Dalvin’s going to have a great game. Our O-line is very locked in so there’s holes to be there and we’ll move people off the spot.”

The Vikings’ run defense will be challenged, including by one of the most effective running quarterbacks in the league. Jalen Hurts ran for a touchdown and 90 total yards on 17 rushing attempts against the Lions. Minnesota coach Kevin O’Connell is impressed with the physicality and elusiveness of the 6-1, 223-pound Hurts.

“There’s times you could tell by the scheme that they’re…blocking up (on) everybody but the corner(back),” O’Connell said. “And leaving the corner for the quarterback, which is pretty rare for a guy to then be able to make that guy miss, go get the first down and line up and do it again.

“His consistency to be able to do that on early downs, second-and-10, run the rock, get tackled, get up on a third-and-three and be precise in the pass game, that’s really what’s impressive. His consistency.”

Vikings’ veteran safety Harrison Smith knows what the defense must do against the 24-year-old Hurts. “Everybody’s gotta take care of their assignment,” Smith told Sports Headliners. “He can make a lot of plays on the ground and if you give him the opportunity in the pass game he can make those as well. So it’s really trusting what your job is and not getting outside of that.”

Worth Noting

Smith, 33, is in his 11th NFL season. How much longer does he want to play? “I am just playing and letting it unfold,” he said.

Former Gophers linebacker Nick Rallis is in his second season as the Eagles linebacker coach. The Edina native was a defensive quality control/assistant linebackers coach with the Vikings from 2018-2020.

Darren Wolfson said on SKOR North that KSTP TV (along with the NFL Network) will televise the Vikings-Saints game from London beginning at 8:30 a.m. October 2.

Dick Jonckowski

The Eagle game Monday night is on ABC-KSTP with announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Buck is married to sports reporter Michelle Beisner-Buck, the niece of former Gophers basketball public address announcer Dick Jonckowski.

Jonckowski received the best of news when his doctor told him Tuesday his cancer is gone. He was battling non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for the third time. “Hopefully this time it will stay away,” he told Sports Headliners.

Jonckowski will play the kazoo and trombone, and tell jokes, while performing with the Midas Touch Band at Mancini’s Char House in St. Paul next Saturday evening.

On NFL opening weekend there were 19 players each from Houston and Miami high schools on league rosters, tied for the most of any city. Detroit had the third-most players with 16, followed by Tampa with 15 players.

Not only are the 3-0 Gophers the only undefeated football team in the Big Ten West but three of the division’s seven teams have two or more losses.

Among the many reserves who played yesterday in the 49-7 rout of Colorado was redshirt freshman defensive end Austin Booker who made his Gopher debut and has the potential to be a superb pass rusher.

Former Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino turned 40 on Friday. His dad, Rick Pitino, is 70 today. Pops brings his Iona Gaels to Albuquerque December 18 to play Richard’s New Mexico Lobos.

Carson Hansen, the running back from Lakeville South who has verbally committed to Iowa State, also had offers from many other programs including Air Force, Army, Kansas State and Northwestern but not Minnesota, per 247Sports.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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