Moller: Defenses get cooked by Dalvin Cook
Nate Moller | Wednesday, November 11, 2020
I have always been a fan of Dalvin Cook. Almost every year I draft him on my fantasy team, and he plays for my Minnesota Vikings, so it’s a perfect combination for me. While Cook has been very susceptible to injuries since he entered the league in 2017, almost everyone would agree that Cook is one of the best players in the league when he’s healthy. I’ll even argue that Cook is the best running back in the league right now.
Cook has played in seven games so far this year, missing only one due to an injury. In those seven games, he has absolutely “cooked” up the defenses he’s faced. Cook is averaging nearly two touchdowns a game with 12 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown on the year. In PPR fantasy leagues, he is averaging an astounding 27.0 points per game.
There was definitely concern when Cook was injured in the Vikings’ week five loss to the Seahawks, but he has looked even better since coming back. In fact, in his first game back against the Packers last week, Cook had a career day with four touchdowns and over 200 all-purpose yards. The play of the day was arguably on a screen pass near midfield that Cook took to the house, juking multiple Packers along the way.
Just when I thought Cook couldn’t do any better, he proved me wrong with his performance this weekend against the Lions where he rushed for 206 yards on the ground alone. That performance made him the first Vikings running back to rush for over 200 yards since Adrian Peterson did against Oakland in 2015.
Assuming Cook can stay healthy down the road, he might be on his way to being better than Peterson and becoming the greatest Vikings running back of all time. Just for fun, I wanted to compare Cook’s numbers to Peterson’s first couple of years in the league. Although Peterson put up more yards in each of his first three seasons than Cook, this was mostly because he had more carries. If you look at yards per rush, the two are very comparable. Over his first three seasons, Peterson averaged roughly 5 yards per rush and Cook averaged a similar 4.6 yards per rush over his first three seasons.
One area where Cook appears to be better than Peterson is ball control. Despite Peterson’s strong start to his career, he fumbled an astonishing 19 times throughout his first three years in the league. Although Cook had less playing time than Peterson in his first three years, Cook only had seven fumbles during his first three years in the league.
Another reason I like Cook is that he is one of the few good draft picks that the Vikings have made in recent years. The Florida State product was drafted in the second round with the 41st overall pick, and I am sure a lot of teams are scratching their heads, wishing they had drafted him when they had the chance.
This past September, the Vikings made the smart decision to sign Cook to a five-year contract worth $63 million. I applaud the Vikings’ front office for doing this. When someone with big playmaking ability like Cook is a part of your team, you have to make deals like this to ensure that the future of your team is bright.
While the Vikings are likely out of the playoff picture this year, Cook looks to have a long, bright future ahead of him in Minnesota. For Cook to prove himself as one of the greatest Vikings’ running backs of all time, he will need to prove himself in the playoffs. In the Vikings’ two-game playoff run last year, Cook was less than impressive, racking up 112 yards on 37 carries for a disappointing 3.03 yards per carry. This is a limited sample size, but great players step up for big games, and that was not the showing the Vikings needed from their star back.
Cook is a great, young running back on the rise, so don’t be surprised if your team’s defense gets cooked by Dalvin multiple times over the next several years.