A shift took place when the Minnesota Vikings drafted Dalvin Cook 41st overall in 2017.
The franchise that had been centered around the run game over the previous decade with one of the greatest to ever do it — Adrian Peterson — would maintain that identity. But Cook personified the modern running back — a player who was just as dangerous running as he was catching the ball.
Coming off a breakout season in 2019, Cook, 25, signed a five-year, $63 million extension that came with $28.2 million guaranteed. The Vikings paid him as if he is the face of the franchise. And he has delivered.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
After a 1-5 start to the season, the tide appears to be turning in Minnesota, largely because of Cook. In back-to-back wins over the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, Cook totaled 478 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns. He made NFL history in that stretch by becoming the first player to score a touchdown on each of his team’s first four possessions against Green Bay. He joined Jim Brown and Deuce McAllister as the only players to record 225 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in consecutive games.
Cook has emerged in the MVP conversation and if this recent streak continues, that’s where he’ll stay. And his play has willed his team to the verge of contention at a critical juncture.
They have a way to go, but the 3-5 Vikings are looking to make a playoff push. In essentially a must-win game against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN), the Vikings will rely on the face of their franchise to continue his remarkable run while carrying his team along with him.
Cook and the Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry are in a tug of war for the NFL’s rushing lead. One week, it’s Cook, who captured the lead after running for 206 yards against Detroit. The next, it’s Henry, who regained first place after another 100-yard performance Thursday in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Henry leads the NFL in rushing with 946 yards. But Cook, who has 858 yards, leads in rushing touchdowns (12), yards per game (122.6) and yards after initial contact (2.82), the latter of which is on pace to be one of the best marks in the past 15 seasons.
“I think it’s good for us up front,” Cook said of his offensive line. “Getting that confidence going into the back end of the season, knowing what we’re trying to get done, knowing the identity of who we [are]. I think that’s key for us up front, for the guys up front. It’s always good to be out front in statistics, it just shows the hard work you put in, but I’m big on letting my guys know up front that this thing can be done.“nfl nike jerseys for cheap
Injuries limited Cook to 31 games over his first three seasons, including some nagging issues down the stretch last year. He spent the offseason focused on building strength. He wanted to come back bigger, faster and better able to withstand the wear and tear on his body.
It has paid off. Despite missing a game-and-a half this season because of a groin injury sustained at Seattle in Week 5, Cook hasn’t slowed and has shown he can shoulder a heavy load on offense.