It’s becoming more and more apparent that the Minnesota Vikings got a steal when they managed to snag Florida State running back Dalvin Cook in the second round (#41 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. At least one source considered Cook to be the best running back available in this year’s class, and now one prominent site has placed him among the favorites to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017.
Pro Football Focus has started handicapping the 2017 Rookie of the Year races, and has placed Cook among their three early favorites to win the award. He’s listed along with Houston Texans’ quarterback DeShaun Watson and Tennessee Titans’ wide receiver Corey Davis.
The Minnesota Vikings brought over Latavius Murray in free agency, but Cook’s slip in the draft changed everything, and gave them an outstanding talent to vault to the top of the depth chart. Cook broke 92 tackles in college last season, 16 more than any other back in the FBS, and gained almost 1,800 yards behind some blocking that was far from stellar. Cook has phenomenal potential and brings a skill set that can keep him on the field for all three downs, something I question about Leonard Fournette, who would otherwise have a good case for this spot.
While Cook is likely going to start out in a rotation with Murray and Jerick McKinnon, it sounds like folks should expect him to be the man in relatively short order. He’ll likely have an advantage pretty early on in camp, with Murray spending much of this offseason recovering from the ankle surgery he had shortly after signing with Minnesota.
The Vikings have had two players bring home the Offensive Player of the Year hardware in recent years, with Adrian Peterson winning the award in 2007 and Percy Harvin following that up by winning it in 2009. With Cook likely to be the lead runner in the Vikings’ backfield sooner rather than later, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility to think that he has an opportunity to win that award as well.