Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was destined to rush for over 100 yards against the Texans’ league-worst rushing defense. It’s been a guessing game of which Vikings receiver would surpass the century mark in the Vikings’ volatile passing game, but on Sunday, two receivers produce 100-plus yards in a 31-23 win.
Cook ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns while receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson racked up 114 and 103 receiving yards, respectively. It was the first time the Vikings had a 100-yard rusher and a pair of 100-plus yard receivers in a game since 2000.
“To have two receivers go over 100 yards and to have a running back go over 100 yards that’s crazy,” Jefferson said in a postgame press conference. “That’s a scary sight.”
Each member of the trio had milestone performances on Sunday. Cook became the NFL’s leading rusher in both yards (424) and rushing touchdowns (6), while Thielen notched his 19th 100-plus yard receiving game of his career. Jefferson’s second 100-yard game in as many career starts landed him as the highest-rated wide receiver in the NFL this week by Pro Football Focus.
Thielen is currently ranked second in PFF wide receiver ratings. His 19th 100-plus yard receiving game catapulted him to fourth all-time behind Anthony Carter (22), Cris Carter (42) and Randy Moss (44) for most 100-plus receiving yard games in franchise history.
Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Skol Nation!
Jefferson & Kirk Cousins Show Chemistry on Improvised 1st Down Throw
In the fourth quarter, Jefferson showed his natural ability to attack the ball and snagged a back-shoulder pass from Kirk Cousins for a 25-yard gain on third down. The throw called attention to Cousins’ faith in the rookie wideout just four games into his career.
“That’s just Kirk trusting in me,” Jefferson said. “The funny part about it is we’ve never really worked on those back-shoulder throws. To be able to do it in the game and complete it for the first down — that’s trust right there.”
Cousins couldn’t help but admit he was surprised by the play.
“When we came off to the sideline after the drive, [backup quarterback] Sean Mannion said, ‘You been working on back shoulders to Justin?’ In other words, we don’t have that time or years banked,” Cousins said. “At some point, you’ve just got to play and believe he can do it. And after he adjusted, found the ball, made the catch, kept his feet in bounds and made the play, I looked at whoever I was with — Dalvin or Adam — as we were moving up the field and said, ’18 can play. That’s not easy to do.’ ”
Jefferson has proven reliable by beating cornerbacks inside or out and in man or zone coverage. He’s averaging 21.8 yards per reception as 14 of his 16 catches have gone for first downs.
The LSU product is eighth in the league in receiving yards (348) despite playing in a limited capacity in his first two weeks. Considering there was no preseason, Jefferson said he feels he’s just getting warmed up after the first four games of his career.
“I guess you could say this is my preseason,” he said. “I’m just getting started.”
Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.