Minnesota Vikings 2018 NFL Training Camp Profile: RB Dalvin Cook [Opinion]

Jim MoneAP Images

Dalvin Cook is the player that fans are most excited to see during training camp and preseason action for the Minnesota Vikings and their fans. After being drafted last year, the Vikings’ running back was able to play in four games before going down with a torn ACL. It was without question a disappointment for the Vikings to see him go down, but Cook is poised to come back stronger than ever in 2018.

Minnesota made a run all the way to the NFC Championship Game last season before being defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a miraculous run that included the “Minneapolis Miracle” against the New Orleans Saints.

Not only do the Vikings have the talent that was on their roster last season, they also went out and signed quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency. Cousins is a major upgrade over Case Keenum and will help take the Vikings’ offense to the next level. Cook’s job will simply be to take pressure off of Cousins.

Looking ahead at the future, Cook is the best running back on the Vikings’ roster and the franchise likely still views him as their long-term starter. Even with the torn ACL, expectations are high for the former Florida State star this season.

2017 Season Review

In the four games that Cook was able to play before going down with a torn ACL, Cook carried the football 74 times for 354 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 90 yards.

While those numbers don’t give a huge sample size of what Cook brings to the field, he is more than capable of becoming a star. He combines impressive athleticism and speed to go along with a body that should be able to hold up to the beating a starting running back takes.

At 22 years old, going through a torn ACL is never easy. It is something that tests patience and the work ethic of the player suffering through the process. Cook, however, has used it as a building block for himself and has simply been working harder to ensure that he comes back better than he was before the injury.

2018 Season Outlook

Minnesota is going to be one of the top contenders in the NFC when it comes to the Super Bowl chase. Many have already titled them the best team in the NFC North, although Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers may have something to say about that.

Having Cousins running the Vikings’ offense will make things much easier on Cook. He will be able to run against defenses trying to prevent big plays through the air.

Predicting his season is not an easy task. Cook is talented enough to go for 1,000 rushing yards, but there is no telling what kind of changes will have been made to his game following the injury. Despite the questions, it would be reasonable to expect 850 yards and seven touchdowns for Cook in 2018.

If the Vikings want to win a Super Bowl this year, they will need their young running back to bounce back with a big season.

Training Camp Projection

Heading into training camp, Cook is going to be viewed as the starting running back. Minnesota does have Latavius Murray still on the roster, who will be trying to compete for playing time. Vikings.com shared that Cook has been named the “rising star” in the NFC North by media members and his ACL will look back to 100 percent.