Thursday's NFL: Vikings wear down Washington for fourth straight win

Detroit News wire services
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Washington linebacker Montez Sweat (90) during the second half on Thursday.

Minneapolis — Near the end of this methodical victory for the Minnesota Vikings, the crowd directed a loud cheer toward a player on the visiting team.

When Adrian Peterson appeared on the giant video screens during the 2-minute warning with an announcement of his latest climb up the NFL’s all-time rushing list, the Washington running back took off his helmet, kissed two of his fingers and waved them to the fans who rooted for him in purple not that long ago.

The star of the show, though, was Peterson’s successor. Dalvin Cook gave the Vikings yet another stellar performance.

Cook had 171 total yards and the game’s only touchdown, helping Kirk Cousins beat his old team on the first try and carrying the Vikings to a 19-9 victory over Washington on Thursday night.

“It just shows how we can pull a win out. We’ve got a team that can go out and keep battling and keep fighting,” Cook said. “That shows you the toughness that’s in this group.”

Cook, the NFL leader in yards from scrimmage, rushed 23 times for 98 yards and caught five passes for 73 yards for the Vikings (6-2) in their fourth straight win. Cousins went 23 for 26 for 285 yards without a turnover against Washington (1-7), who drafted him in 2012 and made him the full-time starter in 2015 before he became a free agent and signed with the Vikings in 2018.

“We talked during the week. You always have a little extra motivation when you’re playing your old team. You’re always trying to prove that they were wrong for letting you go or whatever the reason was, so I thought he handled it really well,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s playing outstanding right now.”

Nobody on Washington lately warrants that assessment. Case Keenum, the quarterback Cousins replaced, had his return to Minnesota spoiled by a concussion that kept him out of the second half and thrust rookie Dwayne Haskins back into action. Two plays after Daron Payne and Landon Collins stuffed Cousins for no gain on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak at the Minnesota 34, Haskins overthrew Terry McLaurin, and Anthony Harris intercepted.

Keenum’s last time in the stadium was nearly two years ago, when his last-play touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs gave the Vikings a victory over New Orleans in a divisional round playoff game, but there was little reason to make this game a memory. Keenum went 12-for-16 for 130 yards.

Diggs caught all seven passes that came his way from Cousins, racking up 143 yards in his own tribute of sorts to the “Minneapolis Miracle.” This game was for the guys in the ground game, though. Alexander Mattison added 61 yards on 13 rushes, and Minnesota more than doubled Washington’s total yardage, 434-216.

Peterson had 14 carries for 76 yards and in the process moved up to sixth place on the NFL’s career rushing list with 13,701 yards by passing Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson.

“It was bittersweet because you come here to win a game,” said Peterson, who played for the Vikings for 10 seasons from 2007-16. “Just coming back and seeing the love that they still have for me and they showed, it felt good. It was definitely a great home welcome. They welcomed me with open arms and just showed the love that they have and have for over a decade. So, it was a special moment. I had to hold tears back, to be honest with you.”

Cook hugged Peterson on the field after the game.

“He was one of the guys that I watched,” Cook said. “He’s a special talent.”

The same goes for Cook, who was drafted in the second round in 2017.

“If we keep him healthy, I hope one day he is in the Hall of Fame just because he’s a talented guy,” Diggs said. “He’s a blessing.”

Pregame protest

Hundreds of protesters chanting “We are not your mascot” have marched in Minneapolis against Washington's team name.

Demonstrators rallied  ahead of the Minnesota Vikings’ game against Washington. The protesters called the team’s name racist and degrading to American Indians.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan told the crowd the mascot “dehumanizes our people.” Flanagan is a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.

Also speaking was U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum. The Star Tribune reports McCollum said, “It’s long past time to change the name.”

Washington owner Dan Snyder has said the team name shows honor and respect.

But David Glass, president of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media and a member of the White Earth Nation, says the name is an offensive racial slur.

Extra points

The Cowboys acquired defensive lineman Michael Bennett from the Patriots for a conditional late-round draft pick in 2021, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.

... Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus needs surgery to repair a core muscle injury and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

... Dolphins coach Brian Flores was non-committal on whether the team will retain Kenyan Drake, who will make $2.025 million in the final year of his rookie contract despite pushing for a contract extension since the offseason.

... The Jets are looking to add 2020 draft capital and have made it clear to teams that wide receiver Robby Anderson can be had before the Oct. 29 trade deadline for the right price.