Another Viking Earns Pro Bowl Kudos

Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands the ball off to running back Dalvin Cook (4) against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Right before Christmas, the NFL announced 2022 Pro Bowl honors, and five Minnesota Vikings players got the nod:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB)
  • Justin Jefferson (WR)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Za’Darius Smith (OLB)
  • Andrew DePaola (LS)

Thanks to his “alternate” status, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook will join the group, making it six folks from the purple and gold team to earn Pro Bowl Kudos.

Another Viking Earns Pro Bowl Kudos

The Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling tweeted Tuesday, “Dalvin Cook was added to the Pro Bowl Games roster today; the Vikings running back replaces the Cowboys’ Tony Pollard, who was injured in the NFC divisional playoffs last weekend.”

Another Viking Earns Pro Bowl
Nov 16, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) during warms ups before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports.

Pollard broke his leg in a 19-12 Divisional Round loss to the seemingly unbeatable San Francisco 49ers Sunday, paving the way for Cook’s fourth straight Pro Bowl selection. The Cowboys have beaten the 49ers in back-to-back playoff matchups.

The Vikings, of course, fell short in the postseason — and would’ve played those same 49ers if they won in Round 1 — losing to the New York Giants at home in the Wildcard Round. But Cook, 27, was an integral part of the regular season success for the Vikings, registering 1,468 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns. His 4.4 yards per rush was a career-low, but Cook played a full season for the first time in his career.

4 Beloved Vikings Could Play
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs with the ball for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Cook also notched three humongous touchdown runs in 2022, breaking off an 81-yarder at the Buffalo Bills, a 53-yard paydirt at the Miami Dolphins, and one from 64 yards out versus the Indianapolis Colts. The threat of a big play from Cook kept defenses honest for much of the 2022 campaign.

The Vikings will soon encounter interesting decisions with Cook, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, C.J. Ham, and others as the team is in grim early-offseason cap shape and may target expensive veterans for restructuring, trade, or outright release. Cook is slated to incur a $14.1 million cap hit against the Vikings books in 2023, a mammoth figure for any running back but especially one who turns 28 this summer.

The Chef Couldn't Cook in DET
Dec 11, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs with the ball against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports.

Per efficiency metrics — yes, “the analytics” — Cook also seems to have lost a step in 2022 or perhaps played through injury. He tallied a -0.75 Rushing Yards over Expected this season, the third-worst in the NFL behind Rachaad White and Leonard Fournette, who play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Second-year halfback Travis Etienne led the NFL in the metric with 0.73 Rushing Yards over Expected.

Still, Cook reached the Pro Bowl for a fourth consecutive year, and that ain’t nothin’.

Cook ranks third in Vikings history in rushing yards, tabulating 5,993 since entering the league in 2017. If he does stay with the Vikings, he’ll likely jump to No. 2 on the list next year, leapfrogging Robert Smith at 6,818. Cook needs 825 rushing yards for the second-most in Vikings history. Adrian Peterson is the top dog at 11,747 rushing yards, nearly double Cook’s current output.

C.J. Ham, Danielle Hunter, Kene Nwangwu, Christian Darrisaw, Garrett Bradbury, Harrison Smith, Kris Boyd, and Eric Kendricks are also Pro Bowl alternates.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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

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