Beloved Former Viking Has Turned into Non-Factor

New York Jets fans in the second half. The Jets defeat the Bills in overtime, 22-16, in the home opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The New York Jets haven’t had Aaron Rodgers at QB1 since September 11th, and Dalvin Cook doesn’t even really play a serious role anymore.

Two of the Jets’ high-profile offseason additions haven’t panned out due to injury and otherwise, while New York sits in third place inside the AFC East with a 4-8 record.

Beloved Former Viking Has Turned into Non-Factor

Unsurprisingly, Cook, a beloved former Minnesota Viking, is frustrated by his severely reduced role. On Black Friday, Cook was handed the rock once, a carry for two yards. The following week, a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Cook scampered nine times for 35 yards.

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“For any guy that has produced in this league, it’s frustrating. You want to be productive,” Cook told ESPN earlier this week.

The aforementioned Rodgers allegedly planned on returning to the Jets’ lineup on Christmas Eve after a medicine-defyingly-quick Achilles tear recovery, but with New York virtually eliminated from the postseason, what’s the point? One might actually believe Cook would get more touches in the Jets’ offense without Rodgers. No cigar.

Former Viking Has Turned
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Cook added, “I was hoping just to be in the right situation for me. Like I said, I want an opportunity. I feel great. My body is ready to roll. I was just hoping for a great opportunity.”

On the season, Cook has rushed 59 times for 197 yards and caught 13 passes for 77 yards. Those metrics combine for a paltry 3.8 yards per touch, down from 5.5 YPT from his Vikings heyday in 2019.

And when Cook chose the Jets in August, most believed he would be showcased in an equitable running back committee involving Breece Hall. He signed a one-year deal worth up to $7 million, the type of cash that should signify more than an RB3-like workload. Although the Jets even cut ties with RB Michael Carter a few weeks ago, Cook very much receives a touch count like an RB3, not an RB2.

Vikings Opponents Have Shifted Massively in Recent Weeks
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“Honestly, I feel like if you put my tape on, I proved myself in this league. I don’t go beg for carries. I feel like I was brought here for a reason,” Cook concluded.

The former Viking will turn 29 next summer and is almost certain to sign somewhere in free agency not named the New York Jets. Cook rushed for 1,179 yards as a Viking, and the 197-yard mark after 13 weeks is quite mind-blowing.

If Kirk Cousins or Vikings
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The Vikings, meanwhile, have rushing struggles, too. Retaining Cook wouldn’t have fixed much, but with Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler as the featured backs, Minnesota ranks 28th per rushing DVOA. The Jets rank dead last in the business per the same metric.

New York hosts the upstart Houston Texans this weekend and is expected by oddsmakers to lose by three or four points.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.