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Dalvin Cook lands in top five of ESPN’s best running backs list

Not a surprise, really

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Minicamp Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Minnesota Vikings know that running back Dalvin Cook is one of the best in the league at his position. But how is he viewed by his peers?

Well, pretty much the same, actually.

Behind the great E$PN paywall, Jeremy Fowler is continuing his list of the best in the NFL at each position with the running backs. In a poll of 50 voters, Cook came in as the fourth-best running back in the NFL, trailing only Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, and Nick Chubb. All 50 people that responded to Fowler’s poll had Cook in their top ten, with his lowest ranking being eighth overall.

Here’s what the commentary says about Cook:

Some around the league still have no problem putting Cook in their top three based on his explosion, vision and toughness. With a full season, he could put up historic numbers. But that is sort of the problem — Cook never has played more than 14 games in any of his five NFL seasons.

“He needs to stay on the field. The whole team is different when he’s in there,” a veteran NFL offensive coach said. “He’s great and can get even better with discipline as a runner and growing as a third-down receiver. I think he’ll show a more all-around game in a new offense.”

The Vikings will implement new head coach Kevin O’Connell’s scheme, with shades of the Rams’ run-heavy attack but also reps for Cook as a receiver — a theme out of OTAs.

Despite playing 13 games last year, Cook still produced 779 yards before first contact, second best in the NFL. And he recorded north of 1,100 rushing yards for the third straight season.

“I love Cook. Give me Cook all day,” one NFC front-office member said. “That burst is impressive.”

Cook has battled a ton of injuries during his time in Minnesota, going back to when he tore his ACL four games into what had been a promising rookie season. He battled several injuries last year, but put on one of the best performances for a running back all season as he ran for 209 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was the only game in the entire league last year that saw a running back go for over 200 yards.

The Minnesota Vikings’ offense is an entirely different beast with Dalvin Cook on the field. . .I don’t think anybody denies that. I’m also not sure if Cook is ever going to have a fully healthy NFL season in his career. Having said that, the fact that he’s seen as one of the best running backs in the league despite his propensity for missing games speaks volumes about how his talent is viewed around the NFL.