The Minnesota Vikings selected Florida State’s Dalvin Cook 41st overall in the 2017 draft. He played four games his rookie season before tearing his ACL against the Detroit Lions. Through those four games, he piled up 444 yards from scrimmage, flashing elite skills at the running back position. He came back strong in year two, though injuries limited him to just 10 games played. With 920 yards from scrimmage, he showed that he’s just as good as a receiver as he is a runner. The concern with Cook has always been his health. But now, in 2019, he is healthy and more explosive than ever. The Vikings and fantasy teams alike are benefitting greatly from a fully healthy Dalvin Cook.
A Healthy Dalvin Cook Is All the Vikings Need
His ability to stay healthy directly affects the Vikings’ gameplan and success. They’ve shown they want to be a run-first team and Cook is the bell-cow. Through six weeks, he’s failed to register under 20 touches just once, in Week 6. His burst with the ball in hand is extraordinary, reminiscent of former Kansas City Chiefs superstar back Jamaal Charles. He’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry and has averaged over 6.5 in two games this year.
When he rushes for over 100 yards, the Vikings are 3-1, and he’s already scored six touchdowns on the ground. He’s also a strong runner for a guy who primarily relies on his speed and agility. He has 12 broken tackles through six games. He’s also averaging a hefty 2.9 yards after contact on his runs, up from 2.0 a year ago. It’s pretty simple. Good things happen when Cook gets the ball, and the Vikings are taking full advantage of that thought.
Cook already has 23 catches in 2019 for 213 yards. Over a 16-game season, that paces him for almost 600 yards through the air. 10 of his receptions have gone for first downs.
In Week 5, against the New York Giants, in addition to his 132 yards on the ground, he registered six receptions for 86 yards on six targets. This illustrates another of Cook’s best qualities; his efficiency as a receiver. His 23 receptions on the season have come on only 26 targets. This is good for a catch percentage of 88.5, seventh in the NFL.
He’s become one of the best security blankets in the NFL, thanks to his sneaky ability to slip blocks and find open space around the line of scrimmage. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has struggled to move the ball downfield for most of the season, so Cook has been a savior at times.
Cook is the number two back in fantasy football right now. He sits behind only McCaffrey, who’s having an MVP-caliber season thus far. Plenty of fantasy football players were rightfully wary of Cook because of prior injuries, but those who took the risk are currently reaping the rewards. He’s one of the few bell-cow backs in the league, and he’s especially effective in PPR leagues. Minnesota has a couple of porous run defenses on the horizon, look for Dalvin Cook to make a push for the top spot in fantasy by season’s end.