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Pro Football Focus rates Latavius Murray’s departure one of the most significant fantasy football moves

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For the effect it will have for the Vikings

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

A bit earlier today, we touched on where Dalvin Cook stands among the running backs in the National Football League, and it sounds as though another prominent outlet is expecting big things from the third-year back for the Minnesota Vikings this season.

Pro Football Focus put together an article about the eight most significant moves from this past offseason for fantasy football purposes, and one move that they listed was the departure of Latavius Murray, who moved on to the New Orleans Saints this offseason after a couple of productive years in Minnesota.

The move was cited not for the effect it’s going to have on New Orleans. . .because, seriously, who cares. . .but rather for the effect it would have on the Vikings, and specifically on Cook.

Murray’s departure might muddy the waters in New Orleans for Alvin Kamara a little, because he could steal at least goal-line work from the star back. But the real benefit here is with the team Murray left behind. Had Murray remained in Minnesota, he would have provided a frustrating cap to Dalvin Cook’s upside. But with Murray gone and only third-round rookie Alexander Mattison presenting a reasonable backup to Cook, the Vikings should be set to give a massive workload to their third-year back, who offers elite upside.

To show just how big a part of the Vikings’ offense Cook could, potentially, be, PFF also offered up a pretty interesting graphic about Cook’s usage over his first two seasons.

Cook has been available to the Vikings for 15 games in his first two seasons. In 13 of those 15 games, he’s been on the field for at least 50% of the team’s offensive snaps, with the two exceptions being Week 4 in 2017 (the game where he tore his ACL) and Week 4 in 2018 (where he was on a “pitch count” and only played the first half).

In seven of those games, he’s been on the field for at least 75% of the Vikings’ plays on offense (and had one other game where he was at 73%). That shows that, when he’s healthy, he’s definitely able to shoulder the load in the Minnesota backfield.

With Cook’s primary backups at this point being a rookie in Alexander Mattison and a relatively inexperienced back in Mike Boone, the sky would appear to be the limit for Cook in 2019. . .say it along with me. . .if he can stay healthy.