New Home, Old Number for Dalvin Cook

Vikings Draw Bittersweet Timeslot for Week 15
Sep 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs the ball in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings had no choice but to move on from Dalvin Cook this offseason. With his salary cap hit of roughly $14 million, a change of direction was needed. He has landed in New York, but he’s bringing some of Minnesota with him.

New Home, Old Number for Dalvin Cook

When Dalvin Cook entered the NFL after being selected in the second round of the 2017 Draft, he chose number 33 for the Minnesota Vikings. Cook was a decorated running back out of Florida, and he wore number 4 during his time with Florida State. Punter Ryan Quigley already had a hold of the number in the pros, so Cook took something new.

Old Number
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

For Cook, 33 was a venture into the professional ranks. He left behind a number that had flashed plenty during his time with the Seminoles. 33 was the number that Cook wore through his first 56 professional games. Prior to the year kicking off in 2022, the talented back changed his number back to the one that he carried through college.

With Minnesota last year, Cook played in all 17 games for the first time in his career. Remaining healthy and available, Kevin O’Connell could rely on his lead back. Unfortunately, his per-touch averages dipped, and the Vikings employed a more pass-heavy offensive focus. Whether aging or otherwise, Cook’s output wasn’t the same as what fans had grown accustomed to.

Now signed with the New York Jets for the upcoming 2023 season, Cook is leaving the number 4 again. Instead of carrying the number change from Minnesota with him, he’s going back to the 33 that he made famous in purple. Maybe Cook views it as a refresh to return to his old ways, or perhaps the number change was just a one-year thing all along.

AFC East Arms Race
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

No matter what, it will be odd for Vikings fans to see Cook wearing any shade of green this year. While it’s not the Packers green and gold, Cook will line up behind former Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It was one thing when Brett Favre came to Minnesota and put on purple, but it feels weird seeing a player like Cook team up with a rival in a different city.

The Jets drafted Breece Hall with their second-round selection just a year ago, and he is still trending toward being the lead back. It remains to be seen how the split will work in New York, and Cook will need to get used to playing second fiddle for the first time. Alexander Mattison has taken over in Minnesota, but it’s Cook that will probably be the 1B with the Jets.

As fans acclimate to the new uniform on Dalvin Cook, the moving-on process could be aided in another number change, further separating him from 2022 with the Vikings. New York is looking to compete in the AFC East, and if they are going to accomplish their lofty goals after acquiring Rodgers, Cook will probably be at the center of the discussion as well.

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.