Dalvin Cook is on the verge of joining an exclusive Minnesota Vikings club.
Cook, who leads the NFL in rushing with 954 yards, could as soon as Sunday against Dallas at U.S. Bank Stadium become just the fifth running back in team history to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons and just the fourth to do it in consecutive seasons.
Those who did it in consecutive years were Chuck Foreman (1975-77), Robert Smith (1997-2000) and Adrian Peterson (2007-13, 2015). Terry Allen reached the benchmark in 1992 and 1994.
“It’s a pretty good group,’’ Foreman said Wednesday. “I’m kind of happy to see Dalvin playing as well as he is. … I’m just looking forward to seeing what kind of season he ends up with.’’
With seven games left, Cook, who rushed for 1,135 yards last season, could become the third Minnesota back to gain 1,500 or more in a season. Peterson ran for 1,760 in 2008 and for 2,097 in 2012. Smith gained 1,521 in 2000.
Cook is averaging 5.5 yards on 174 carries. He could join Peterson, who did it four times, and Chester Taylor, who had 303 in 2006, as just the third Minnesota back with 300 or more carries in a season.
Cook carried 30 times for 96 yards in Monday’s 19-13 win at Chicago, giving him 82 attempts over the past three games. His previous most in a three-game stretch was 70 last year.
“My body feels good after (Monday),’’ Cook said. “I’m ready to play another one.’’
Head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t express much concern about all of Cook’s recent carries, saying “a lot of that depends” on how he feels and that the Vikings “take pretty good care of him during the week.’’
“As a running back, we want to have the ball,’’ Foreman said. “You just have to play the game and you hope you stay healthy, and you want to do as well as you can.”
Special teams workouts
With the Vikings having had significant issues on special teams, they’re looking at specialists to possibly fill two openings on the practice squad.
Austin Cutting has had bad snaps in two consecutive games, and the Vikings could bring in another long snapper. They worked out John Wirtel last Sunday and will work out Andrew Depaola on Saturday and Kyle Nelson on Monday.
“Sometimes he’s pretty good and sometimes he hasn’t, so we’ll keep working at it,’’ Zimmer said of Cutting.
Cutting had a bad snap Nov. 8 against Detroit, leading to one of the two blocked punts Britton Colquitt had. Cutting had another bad snap on a failed extra-point attempt at Chicago.
Special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf said the blocked punts weren’t Colquitt’s fault, and kicker Dan Bailey generally has been solid. Still, the Vikings are also working out punters and kickers.
Last Sunday, they had in kicker Casey Bednarski, who played at Minnesota State Mankato, kicker Nick Rose and punter-kicker Drew Galitz. On Saturday, they will work out kicker Nick Vogel, punter Dom Maggio and punter-kicker Tristan Vizcaino. On Monday they will work out kicker Austin Barnard.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, it takes at least five days from when a player arrives until he can work out.
Thielen's good and bad
Wide receiver Adam Thielen had two touchdown catches from Kirk Cousins on Monday, the first on a one-handed grab. But he also bobbled a pass that was intercepted by linebacker Khalil Mack.
Thielen downplayed his impressive catch, even though teammate Justin Jefferson said was a “nine out of 10.” “I’d say probably less than that,” Thielen said. “It wasn’t that great.”
Thielen blamed himself for the interception. “Just a bad play by me,’’ he said. “Just got to catch it and take the hit. … Apologized to Kirk.”
–The NFL placed all teams in “intensive protocol” to combat the coronavirus, which calls for more rigid rules regarding social distancing and wearing of masks. Zimmer said the Vikings have been in that protocol most of the season, and they were back in it after guard Dru Samia went Monday on the COVID-19 reserve list.
–Rookie cornerback Jeff Gladney, a New Boston, Texas, native, was a Cowboys fan growing up and said family members still root for them. But he said all will be cheering for the Vikings on Sunday. “I told my dad, he can wear a double-sided jersey, but the Vikings have got to be on the front,’’ Gladney said.
–Center Garrett Bradbury has made great strides in his second season. Pro Football Focus ranks him as the NFL’s No. 5 center. “The more you play, the more you start to sense little nuances of ways you can try to keep the defense off-balance,” Cousins said.