Vikings Hope to Revive Running Game by Drafting Dalvin Cook

Written by Ryan Musich

After finishing last in rushing yards per game in the 2016-2017 season and releasing their former franchise cornerstone in running back Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings traded up in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft Saturday night to draft Florida State’s all-time leading rusher Dalvin Cook. The Vikings traded the No. 48 and 128 picks to the Cincinnati Bengals in order to move up, completing a move they had discussed on Friday morning after Cook slipped out of the first round the night before.

Cook was the third running back to come off the board, following Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 4) and Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers at No. 8). A 5-foot-10, 210-pounder, Cook ran for 1,000 yards in all three of his seasons at Florida State, including a career-best 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior last season.

While already having signed running back Latavius Murray this offseason and still having running back Jerick McKinnon as a backup on the depth chart, Cook can come in and perhaps take the starting running back position midway through the season. Cook is a very quick and explosive back that can be very dangerous if he can get outside of any defense.

The main concern for Cook is his durability and history of off the field issues while at Florida State. He was charged with criminal mischief in 2014 and given pretrial intervention, which he completed. He also was suspended indefinitely after an alleged incident outside a Tallahassee bar in 2015; he ultimately was acquitted of misdemeanor battery. Cook dealt with hamstring issues throughout the 2015 season and has had three shoulder surgeries since high school. However, General Manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings’ doctors had “no concerns” with Cook’s medical status after examining him.

We will have to wait and see can be the team’s new Adrian Peterson, or if he will be just another Toby Gerhart (Who Vikings fans know a lot about). Like I mentioned, we most likely won’t have to wait long until we see Cook inserted into the starting role but running behind a suspect offensive line will definitely not make it easy. The Vikings will most likely be looking for more offensive line help on day 3, after drafting a center with their 3rd round pick, and in the second stage of free agency after the draft is complete. If all works out, Cook will surely be something special to watch in the backfield with quarterback Sam Bradford and could be a valuable asset in Pat Shurmur’s pass heavy West Coast Offense.

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