Vikings: 3 keys to beating Houston

1. Let the Cook run the kitchen

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook set a career-high with 184 yards on the ground in the Vikings loss to Tennessee last Sunday and he could be in for another huge game in Houston.

The Texans are giving up 188 yards per game on the ground. That’s dead last in the NFL.

"That’s been our goal every time we step on that field to show a team that we’re ready to play from snap one," Cook said on Thursday. "That’s going out there and being aggressive and going out there and executing."

Cook is averaging 6.1 yard per carry in 2020 and the Vikings would like to get him more involved in the passing game, as well. He only has five catches for 24 yards this season.

2. Keep Watt away from Cousins

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has been under heavy pressure this season and this week his offensive line will need to slow down former NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.

Watt has had health problems in recent years but can still wreak havoc. Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak knows Watt well from his time as the Texans head coach.

"As a head coach you get to impact players lives, but they impact your’s, too," Kubiak said about Watt on Thursday. "He had a big impact on mine. I wouldn’t have those great memories if I didn’t have that great player on my team."

Watt has two of the Texans’ seven sacks this season.

3. Take away the deep ball

Houston traded away Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the offseason, but they still have playmakers in the receiving corps.

Randall Cobb is still dangerous in the slot and Will Fuller is one of the top deep threats in the league.

"They are extremely fast," Vikings co-defensive coordinator Adam Zimmer said about Houston’s receivers. "They put an emphasis on speed and Deshaun Watson can make any throw. We have to be great in our coverage on these guys."