Addressing reporters Wednesday amid the team’s return from its bye week, the ever-loquacious defensive end vowed the Minnesota Vikings would not duplicate Cleveland’s preposterous 307-yard effort on the ground in Week 4.
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Lawrence Criticized the Cowboys’ Defense Strategy
Fans likely scrubbed that game from their tortured 2020 psyche. But you may remember the Browns eclipsing the triple-century mark despite losing Pro Bowl back Nick Chubb in the first quarter; backup Kareem Hunt went for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 carries while D’Ernest Johnson led Cleveland with 95 yards (7.3 YPC) amid their 49-38 victory. Even Odell Beckham Jr. managed 73 rushing yards and a score, prompting Lawrence to strongly criticize Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s system.
“Soft. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. I call the s*** soft, and we have to get better from it,” he said.
The Cowboys’ run defense, which still ranks 31st overall (157.0 YPG), has improved if incrementally from that rock-bottom “effort.” In Week 9, the unit held Steelers RB James Conner to 22 yards on 19 attempts.
Cook Hopes to Propel the Vikings to the Playoffs
Now it gets a wholly different animal in Cook. The dual-threat superstar totaled 954 rushing yards and 12 TDs across eight games for the 4-5 Vikings, including a 206-yard, two-TD performance in Week 9. He’s averaging a sterling 5.5 YPA and a league-best 119.3 YPG, with 51 first-down scampers. This, to say nothing of Cook’s 25 catches for 189 yards and an additional score.
The Vikings’ offense has some nice weapons, including receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. Cook, however, is the offense, the engine that makes it zoom.
And he’s angling for franchise history against Dallas.
On the strength of Cook’s legs, the Vikings have put together a three-game winning streak and look to propel themselves into the playoff picture.
But the Cowboys, still in the NFC East race, aren’t interested in merely playing spoiler.
“First things first, don’t ever get this twisted, we’re a good team,” Lawrence said Wednesday, via ESPN. “And it’s all about winning games at the end of the day, but we’re a good team. Seeing how other people are playing and stuff, I don’t think we’re far behind at all. I feel like we deserve to still be in this thing and we can make a pretty good run.”
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