With the swirl of social media and ongoing competition in the NFL, every team has plenty of bulletin board material.
But Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy’s tactic to inspire his team the day before Sunday’s 31-28 win over the Vikings was downright dirty and borderline disrespectful.
The former Green Bay Packers coach had a cart of watermelons rolled into a team meeting on Saturday night to make a point of emphasis on their objectives.
McCarthy, apologizing for not being clear on the objective of “hammer the ball out of Dalvin Cook’s hands” unsheathed a sledgehammer and began smashing watermelons with the game objectives written on the rind, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.
As McCarthy goes down the line, one watermelon with a photo of Dalvin Cook caught the eye of Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who jumped at the opportunity to smash the Dalvin Cook watermelon.
The Cowboys did not back down from the Vikings’ offensive line and kept Cook relatively in check. Cook rushed for 115 yards on 27 carries — an improvement upon the Cowboys’ league-worst 157 rushing yards allowed per game entering Week 11.
#Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy pulled out a sledgehammer during Saturday night’s team meeting and smashed watermelons like Gallagher to emphasize their objectives. Players roared, then responded with an inspired win in Minnesota. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/oiUThTYuYJ
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 23, 2020
The end-result was devastating. The Vikings (4-6), suffering their sixth loss this season, have virtually no margin of error if they hope to make the playoffs, meanwhile, the Cowboys (3-7) locked into a three-way tie for the lead in the NFC East.
Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Skol Nation!
Cook Took a Beating Last Week
Facing both the Chicago Bears’ aggressive defensive front and a surprisingly inspired Cowboys group in the same seven days had to have taken a toll on Cook.
He was sidelined a few plays on a hit he took from Cowboys safety Donovan Wilson that resulted in a fumble, achieving the Cowboys’ goal.
Cook currently leads the league in touches per game (25.1) and has surpassed 30 touches in three of the Vikings’ past four games. His uptick in usage has fueled the Vikings’ success since the bye week, but it begs the question of if it is sustainable.
Alexander Mattison Has Barely Been Used Since Seahawks Game
Backup running back Alexander Mattison was drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft to supplement Cook in the running game.
After Cook suffered a groin injury against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5, Mattison relieved Cook and ran effectively, totaling 112 rushing yards and adding another 24 yards through the air, but his lasting memory from the game has proved to haunt him.
Mattison missed a hole on fourth and inches and instead stuck to the play design and ran the ball inside. He came up short, resulting in a turnover on downs leading to the Seahawks’ game-winning drive.
He has since seen single-digit snaps in three of the past four games — the lone outlier being 12 carries he took against the Detroit Lions in garbage time.
The Vikings will need to reintroduce Mattison to the offense if they hope to get a full 16 games out of Cook.
- Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Snubs Adam Thielen’s 1-Handed TD Catch [WATCH]
- Bears Fans Blast Vikings For ‘Classless’ Tweet
- Disgruntled Vikings Defensive End: ‘I Belong in This League!’
- Hall of Fame, 2K Rusher Has Strong Message on Vikings’ Dalvin Cook
- Cowboys ‘Likely’ Facing Fine for Game-Tilting Hit on Vikings’ Kirk Cousins: Report
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.