Can Aaron Jones Best Dalvin Cook?

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) runs the ball at training camp practice on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. © Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings significantly changed the running back position this offseason. After Alexander Mattison failed to take over the starting role following the departure of Dalvin Cook, it was back to the drawing board. Now, with Aaron Jones in tow, could the Vikings see a massive boost from their new playmaker?

Can Aaron Jones Best Dalvin Cook?

There has been no point during Kevin O’Connell’s tenure as head coach for the Minnesota Vikings where you could say he operated a run-first offense. That was the expectation when he was hired, and it has played out as such. Given the talent at the wide receiver position and trends across the NFL as a whole, it’s hardly a misstep or something to be confused by. Now, though, he’ll employ a top-tier running back once again.

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When Dalvin Cook departed Minnesota, he was clearly reaching the end of his playing days and something of a run-down version of himself. Aaron Jones isn’t a spring chicken by any means, but it appears he still has plenty in the tank when he can stay on the field. Remaining clear of injuries has been tough for the former Green Bay Packers ball carrier, but talent isn’t a question.

Last season, in 11 games, he ran for over 600 yards and posted a 4.6 yards per carry average. Jones has a 5.0 yards per carry average throughout his career and three 1,000-yard seasons. Jones isn’t the volume-based runner that Cook was for Minnesota, but he may fit the scheme better. Being able to rip off chunk plays in more limited spots is exactly what Jones was with Aaron Rodgers and what O’Connell will be seeking behind either Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy.

Aaron Jones
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You’d have to return to 2019 to find the lone season in which Jones scored double-digit touchdowns on the ground. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2020, and while the accolades have not been there in terms of awards, he has remained a constant entrant among the league’s best at the position.

Capable as a wide receiver, Jones also carries the same qualities that Cook possessed and brings the dual-threat ability O’Connell seems to need from his running backs.

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It remains to be seen how Minnesota will use Jones in the season ahead, but you can bet on the heavy importance placed on the player most closely lined up to the signal caller. As long as Jones can remain healthy, he could have one of the more productive seasons in recent history from a Vikings running back, and that would be something everyone can get on board with.

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.