When the Minnesota Vikings made Dalvin Cook their first selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the hope was that he could step in and be the sort of dynamic playmaker that the team had lost when they decided they wouldn’t be bringing Adrian Peterson back. While Cook has definitely shown some glimpses of that over the first two years of his NFL career, his inability to stay on the field due to injuries has certainly prevented him from reaching his full potential.
However, a former NFL running back and current NFL Network analyst sees the potential, and thinks that despite everything that’s happened to Cook over the past two years, he’s one of the ten best running backs in the league.
Maurice Jones-Drew recently ranked all 32 of the starting running backs across the National Football League, and he has Cook at #10, which is pretty solid. Here’s what Jones-Drew had to say about Cook:
The hiring of Gary Kubiak in Minnesota bodes well for Cook. Throughout the years, Kubiak has turned unheralded backs into 1,000-yard rushers, including former sixth-round pick (and Hall of Famer) Terrell Davis and Mike Anderson (in Denver), Steve Slaton and undrafted free agent Adrian Foster (in Houston) and Ray Rice (in Baltimore). Cook is one of the more naturally talented backs Kubiak has worked with. Look for the third-year veteran to be maximized in this year’s offense -- IF he can stay healthy.
Not surprisingly, Jones-Drew’s concerns with Cook are the same as everyone else’s, primarily the injury issue. While guys like Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have been solid in Cook’s place over the past couple of years, the Vikings’ offense would have a totally different dimension to it if Cook were to remain healthy for the majority of the season.
Cook has had just 258 touches during his NFL career to this point, with 207 rushes and 51 receptions. He averages 4.7 yards per rush and 7.7 yards/reception, and with a scheme that should play to his strengths this season, he could easily improve on both of those numbers. If Cook can stay on the field this season, he’s fully capable of justifying his spot in Maurice Jones-Drew’s rankings, and could find himself climbing the charts pretty rapidly.
Is Dalvin Cook currently one of the ten best running backs in the NFL?
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