NFL teams
Courtney Cronin, ESPN Staff Writer 28d

Vikings' offense awakens with 71-yard Justin Jefferson TD, 39-yard Dalvin Cook TD run

NFL, Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a dreadful start to the season, the Minnesota Vikings offense discovered its firepower against Tennessee.

It started in the first quarter with running back Dalvin Cook. After coughing up the football on the second play from scrimmage on Minnesota's second drive of the game, Cook gave the Vikings their first score after rushing 39 yards for a touchdown.

A seven-play drive that went 76 yards in 3 minutes, 18 seconds culminated with Cook taking a handoff from Kirk Cousins up the right side of the field, aided by a solid lead block from tight end Irv Smith Jr. to open up a rushing lane. Three Titans defenders trailed Cook for the final 30 yards of his run as the running back waltzed into the endzone untouched.

Following Dan Bailey's successful point after, the Vikings took a 7-6 lead.

Cook has now scored a rushing touchdown in 14 of his last 17 games. The 39-yard run was the second-longest of his career (75-yarder versus Green Bay in 2019).

On Minnesota's next drive, its fourth of the first half, Cousins found rookie wide out Justin Jefferson on the outside for a 31-yard reception. The quarterback then rolled to his right on the ensuing play, buying himself time to find Thielen in the endzone for a 16-yard score. It was Cousins' first touchdown pass on a rollout this season. Last season, Cousins threw nine touchdown passes on rollouts, which was tied with Deshaun Watson for the most in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Jefferson, who offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said last week will be utilized more frequently, became the first Vikings rookie with 100 receiving yards in a half since Randy Moss on Nov. 26, 1998 against the Cowboys. That was Moss' famous Thanksgiving performance -- 3 catches, 163 Yards, 3 TD (51-yd, 56-yd, 56-yd scores).

The first-round receiver recorded the first touchdown of his career in the third quarter when Cousins hit Jefferson on a deep play-action drop back for a 71-yard score. The Louisiana native paid tribute to his home state by doing "The Griddy" dance as he crossed into the endzone, a celebration he made helped make famous during his record-setting year at LSU in 2019.

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