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After Vikings’ Dalvin Cook had career-low six carries, Kevin O’Connell wants that to change

Cook, a three-time Pro Bowl selection in his sixth NFL season, had a career-low six carries in a 24-7 loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. He gained 17 yards, the third-lowest total in his career.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook carries the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the season opener on Sept. 11, 2022. Against, Philadelphia this past Monday, Cook only had six rushes for 17 yards.
Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Running back Dalvin Cook barely touched the ball Monday at Philadelphia, and Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell doesn’t want that to happen again.

Cook, a three-time Pro Bowl selection in his sixth NFL season, had a career-low six carries in a 24-7 loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. He gained 17 yards, the third-lowest total in his career.

“I have all the confidence in the world in (Cook), and I’ve got to do a better job of making sure I get him in a rhythm,’’ O’Connell said Wednesday.

Cook had just three carries for three yards in the first half when Minnesota ran just 21 plays and three carries for 14 yards in the second half. The Vikings fell behind 7-0 before the offense got the ball and trailed 24-7 at halftime, which played a big role in why Cook had so few carries.

Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook

“I would have liked to run the ball earlier more in the game but were the (opportunities) really there and did they really present themselves?’’ O’Connell said.

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Cook understood why it was difficult to get him many carries due to the Vikings falling behind.

“You kind of have balance (it),’’ Cook said. “It’s kind of hard as a coach. … You’re down, you’re trying to score, we’re trying to win in a hostile environment, a lot of factors into play calling.”

Cook’s career-low rushing total was 12 yards on nine carries in 2018 at Chicago. He had 13 yards on nine carries last season at Green Bay.

Smith doesn’t practice

Vikings safety Harrison Smith, who suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter Monday, did not practice Wednesday.

The workout was not open to the media. Quarterback Kirk Cousins said beforehand that it would be a “jog-through.”

Smith’s status for Sunday’s game against Detroit at U.S. Bank Stadium is uncertain.

vikings-mugs-Smith_Harrison.jpg

“Harrison is in the protocol,’’ O’Connell said. “”Short week, so it will be kind of a day-to-day-process. He feels pretty good, but we’ll kind of allow that process to play out.”

If Smith doesn’t play, it remains to be seen who would start in his place. After Smith went out Monday, Josh Metellus played 10 snaps at safety and rookie Lewis Cine just one. Cine, who missed Minnesota’s 23-7 win over Green Bay in the Sept. 11 opener due to a knee injury, said he doesn’t know who would get the call. Overall, Cine, who played 15 snaps on special teams, was pleased with how his NFL debut went Monday.

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“It was good,’’ Cine said. “It got my feet wet in terms of being out there. … I’m just going to keep working day in and day out and I know everything will fall into the right order.”

Also listed as not practicing was rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. due to a quadriceps injury. Booth, who was hurt against the Packers and sat out at Philadelphia, said before the workout it’s not a long-term injury and he remained hopeful of playing against Detroit.

O’Connell was asked before the workout about not having a full-fledged practice.

“We’re still well within 48 hours from that game (on Monday),’’ he said. “We had late travel, got back around 5 a.m. … We’re having extended meetings (Wednesday), a little more meeting time than we would normally have.”

Bad call?

O’Connell said Eagles cornerback Darius Slay should have been called for pass interference on a third-down incompletion to the Vikings’ Justin Jefferson on their first drive of the game.

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O’Connell wouldn’t say whether the play was sent to the NFL office but said the Vikings “did hear back through channels” and they “know that more than likely that should have been a flag.”

Defensive struggles

The Vikings will look to bounce back on defense against the Lions after giving up 486 yards against the Eagles, including 347 in the first half. That dropped Minnesota to No. 29 in the NFL in total defense.

“Communication and execution,’’ said linebacker Jordan Hicks. “It’s very fixable, very simple. We’ve got to execute what is being called and what we practice all week. It’s still early in the season. We know we’re going to get unscouted looks. That’s part of it”

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