#6 | Dalvin Cook
It’s tough putting pressure on a rookie in these articles but the team needs to get the running game going this season. It’s been a long time since opposing teams have given two shits about the Vikings’ ground attack. The team made a move to remedy that problem by bringing in a couple of free agent offensive tackles, and by trading up in round 2 to land FSU running back Dalvin Cook.
Why Cook’s Performance is so Important
The Vikings have struggled to run the ball consistently the last few years. The offensive line has been a major reason for this, as they have been hit hard by injuries and the backups haven’t been able to open holes. But also, the overall talent at the position has been suspect. Cook is a multi purpose back who is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. He is quick and decisive and can make big gains out of the smallest of openings. That bodes well for the o-line because even average play across the board could lead to Cook having multiple 100 yard games. This would extend drives, open up the play action down the field, and also keep the defense off the field longer and fresh as a Summer’s Eve bath.
Cook is able to become a threat running the football behind the Vikings improved offensive line. He rushes for over 1200 yards and has double digit touchdowns. He also adds 400+ receiving yards and a few scores through the air. Defenses become very concerned about the Purple’s ground attack, and that makes life much easier for Sam Bradford and the passing game. The Vikings win the division behind this new explosive offense, and ultimately lose in heartbreaking fashion in the playoffs.
Though he looks good, Cook isn’t able to be consistently productive behind the Vikings’ sub-par offensive line. He struggles to hit 600 rushing yards and the Vikings offense becomes pass heavy. This causes a lot of 3 and outs, and the defense is constantly on the field, getting exhausted and worn out by the third quarter. The team struggles as a whole, and finishes 5-11.