Vikings running back Dalvin Cook quietly and steadily compiled 218 yards from scrimmage on Sunday, in a 28-10 win over the Giants. And that’s fitting, because he quietly and steadily has become one of the best running backs in the game.
Cook told PFT by phone after the victory that his breakout year comes from understanding the type of work he needed to do in the offseason to prepare himself for the week-to-week physical grind of the regular season. Cook suffered a non-contact torn ACL in Week Four of his rookie season; last year, a variety of injuries kept him from making a major impact, with five games missed and only 133 carries for the year.
The former Florida State standout also said that he carefully researched the team’s new running game in the offseason, realizing that it is very similar to the running game Jimbo Fisher used in Tallahassee. Cook knew that the one-cut-and-go style fit with his skills; every time he turns upfield and explodes through a hole, it’s obvious that he’s a perfect match for that style of offense.
This year, Cook already has 92 carries (18.4 per game) for 542 yards, and he’s averaging nearly six yards with every attempt. He also has caught 21 passes, gaining another 200 yards. He’s on pace for more than 2,300 yards from scrimmage.
Although it’s still not clear whether the Vikings can effectively move the ball through the air on the days when Cook is bottled up, he likely won’t be bottled up often. The challenge for the Vikings will be to win as many of those games as possible — and hope that they continue to happen at least 80 percent of the time.