September 8, 2019 / 8:29 PM / 10 days ago

Cook carries Vikings to 28-12 victory over Falcons

EditorsNote: corrects Cook’s early rushing total to 53 yards on three carries

Sep 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of U.S. Bank Stadium prior to the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Dalvin Cook ran for 111 yards with two touchdowns and safety Anthony Harris recorded two interceptions and recovered a fumble as the Minnesota Vikings rolled to a season-opening 28-12 victory over the visiting Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Kirk Cousins (8 for 10, 98 yards) threw for a touchdown and ran for another as the Vikings scored TDs on three of their first four possessions. Minnesota recorded all of its points off three Atlanta turnovers and a blocked punt.

Cook, limited to 15 games over his first two seasons because of injuries, ran the ball 21 times and had 53 yards on his first three carries. The Vikings, who averaged 93.3 rushing yards in 2018, had more than 100 on the ground in the first half and 172 for the game.

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan was 33 of 46 for 304 yards with fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. However, Ryan was intercepted twice and sacked four times. Devonta Freeman was held to 19 yards on eight carries for the Falcons, who totaled 345 yards as Minnesota flexed its defensive muscle early and often.

Anthony Barr sacked Ryan on the first play, and Eric Wilson blocked Matt Bosher’s punt to start the Vikings’ first possession at Atlanta’s 21-yard line. Three plays later, Cousins connected with Adam Thielen for a 23-yard touchdown pass.

After Harris’ interception at the Falcons’ 41-yard line, the Vikings were back in the end zone on Cook’s 19-yard scoring run around the left end for a 14-0 lead with 8:22 left in the first quarter. Harris was again in the right spot, thwarting a Falcons’ drive by recovering Freeman’s fumble at the Minnesota 21 early in the second quarter.

The Vikings made it 21-0 with a 10-play, 79-yard drive — aided by pass interference and holding penalties by the Atlanta defense — that was capped by Cousins’ 1-yard surge with 4:40 left in the half.

Atlanta was driving on its first possession of the second half, but Harris halted a 13-play drive by intercepting Ryan in the back of the end zone. The Vikings followed with a six-play drive, with Cook’s 7-yard TD run pushing the lead to 28-0.

—Field Level Media

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