Dalvin Cook Is Making Noise. Quietly.
Coming into this season, there was plenty of promise surrounding Dalvin Cook and a renewed sense of usage with a Kevin O’Connell offense. It’s not that he was ever an afterthought by any means, but involvement in the passing game and a more creative scheme could give him a renewed sense of purpose. So far, things may be more promising than presumed.
This offense has largely been the Justin Jefferson show in 2022. Kevin O’Connell has done what he can to orchestrate ways for the superstar wide receiver to make an impact. Adam Thielen has looked to stretch the field, and K.J. Osborn has continued to develop. They’ve taken the spotlight off talented rusher Dalvin Cook, but that hasn’t slowed his production.
Through seven games, Cook has amassed 561 yards. Although the yardage per game is near a career low, his yards per attempt was only higher in 2020. Injuries have been a bugaboo for the former Florida State product, and he’s never appeared in more than 14 games during any given season, but with ten more in front of him this year, he could be in line for career highs.
The expectation of an enhanced involvement in the passing game hasn’t truly been there yet. He’s seeing just over two receptions per game, and while he’s been spread out wide and moved around, there just isn’t much production to show for it. As the Vikings offense continues to gel along with a new gameplan, there may be opportunity to exploit matchups with linebackers more often.
It remains to be seen whether Cook will position himself for 1,600 rushing yards for the first time in his career, but the opportunity is undoubtedly there. This may be the best offensive line he’s ever run behind, and while the offense has attempted to be more progressive as a whole, the Vikings continue to be a well-balanced attack.
Maybe the most surprising this season is not the numbers Cook has accrued but how secondary they seem to the team as a whole. It’s often overlooked to consider what Cook has contributed in the box score, and given the passing game, there’s hardly anything wrong with that. The more the opposition looks to stack boxes against Cousins, the better all offensive options open up.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Vikings fan unhappy with the overall production this year, and that’s because contributors have come from plenty of different places. As another strong pass catcher enters the fold in T.J Hockenson, Cook should continue to see his field widen.
Once a predictable focal point, Cook has done a great job being an overlooked weapon.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.