Beloved Former Viking off to Horrible Start in 2023

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Sometimes sequels aren’t as impressive as the original.

Former Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has 15 games to prove otherwise, but through two games in his NFL second act, the experiment is dreadful.

Beloved Former Viking off to Horrible Start in 2023

And that’s on top of the peril already experienced by the New York Jets, Cook’s new team, a club that lost Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season one week ago. The Jets remained optimistic for a week that third-year passer Zach Wilson could guide the ship, but then Week 2 arrived, and Dallas disemboweled New York 30-10.

off to Horrible Start
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Through two games, Cook has been handed the rock 17 times on the ground, netting a paltry 40 yards — also known as 2.4 yards per carry. In NFL-speak, that’s despicable and akin to a point guard in the NBA shooting 40% from the foul line. Cook has added 4 receptions for 31 yards, so perhaps there’s some room as a pass-catcher on 3rd Down or something of the sort.

Too, Cook is siphoning carries from RB1 Breece Hall, much to the chagrin of fantasy football managers — and maybe Hall personally.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Hall, a second-year tailback, was asked after the flogging by the Cowboys why his team lost, and he replied, “I mean, I only had four touches.”

Hall and Cook rushed the ball four times apiece.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports.

“That’s why we struggled. But it is what it is. We just got down early today and kind of just abandoned the run. I feel like with any team that type of stuff happens, that’s how it is. You feel like you’ve got to get back in the game and stuff like that. It just slips away. So that’s what it was,” Hall added.

The Vikings, on the other hand, have struggled, too, on the ground during the first glimpse of life after Cook, even leading some fans to declare, “We should’ve kept Dalvin.”

Well, Cook isn’t catching on in New York, and Minnesota isn’t running the ball, in general, perhaps signaling a need to change course. The Vikings have fired up 26 rush attempts in two games, the third-fewest in NFL history among all teams in the first two games of a season.

off to Slow
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Overall, the 2023 season is just 12% complete, so the Jets — and Vikings — have 15 games to flip the script via tailback production. Cook could catch fire in Week 3 at home against the New England Patriots. We shall see.

But, for now, the Vikings saying “no thanks” to Cook’s would-be $14.1 million cap hit in 2023 seems brilliant.


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.