Dalvin Cook makes impressive return in Minnesota Vikings’ 24-16 win over San Francisco 49ers

MINNEAPOLIS — While the arrival of Kirk Cousins has, understandably, gotten most of the attention in Minnesota, the return of running back Dalvin Cook can’t be overlooked.

Cook, who tore his left ACL in the fourth game of his rookie season last year, rushed for 40 yards and had an additional 55 yards receiving in Sunday's 24-16 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

His size, elusiveness and versatility make him tough to defend, and Cousins took full advantage of it. Though he has some top-notch receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Cousins didn’t hesitate to look for Cook on both short and deeper passes.

That Cook was capable of such a big day isn’t a surprise. He became Florida State’s all-time leading rusher in just three seasons, and rushed for more yards than Adrian Peterson did in his first game with the Vikings. But the recovery from a knee injury, especially for a running back, can be a crapshoot.

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Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had seen enough during the preseason to say he wouldn’t limit Cook’s time on the field, and it was clear from the opening drive that he meant it. Cook was involved in each of the first four plays, and five of the first 10.

Cook finished with a team-high 16 carries, and also caught seven passes.

CAN’T WIN THEM ALL: Jimmy Garoppolo had won his first seven starts, two with New England and five to end the season with San Francisco last year. But Garoppolo often looked like the untested QB he still is against a Vikings D that will be in the conversation for best in the league, making some questionable throws over the middle and others into double coverage.

The play calling didn’t always work in his favor, either. Facing a second-and-29 from its own 6 at the end of the first quarter, San Francisco ran the ball on the next two plays, picking up a total of 14 yards.

But Garoppolo did show a few flashes of the skills that had every team in need of a quarterback trying to land him last year. Late in the third quarter, Garoppolo had led the Niners into the red zone only to be sacked on first-and-10 from the 17.

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