Open Letter to Dalvin Cook: Now or Never – Joseph Evans @jospitta
Dear Dalvin Cook owners,
“Thank you for holding onto me” from your Vikings running back, Dalvin Cook. Yes, read this and pay attention as I am here to discuss Mr. Cook. If you’re like me, holding onto Dalvin Cook for a long time, you may want to cash in your stock and get what you can but I’m here to warn you — STOP. I am Jim Cramer and I am trying so hard to get you to hold onto him. My reasons for keeping him will be explained throughout this piece but I am first off going to start off by discussing the Vikings offense.
Remember this name, Kevin Stefanski. He’ll most likely be a head coaching candidate next season, but he took over as offensive coordinator in Week 15. The Minnesota Vikings took on the Miami Dolphins when Kirk Cousins threw a pick-six but the Vikings ultimately put up 41 points in a blowout win.
The Vikings offense ranked 30th in rushing last year. I witnessed the run game as I cheered for Cook however I also witnessed horrible play calling. For example, thres straight passes and on the next drive, a run, pass, run and score. Bipolar and inconsistent throughout the whole game.It was frustrating to watch Minnesota’s lack of identity. Enter Stefani who has been quoted this offseason on installing his own offense. “Our goal is to put together a foundational scheme,” Stefani said. Now, that is ambiguous and doesn’t give us much detail but Stefani has my faith because of the that performance in Week 15. Stefani is a young coach and as I rewatched the highlights from that game vs the Dolphins, I’d describe the offense as explosive. Dalvin Cook rushed for a season-high of 136 yards and two touchdowns along with two catches out the backfield for 27 yards. Cook was able to move around in the field really well and able to showcase what he can do with an improved offensive line. Cook displayed how dynamic he can be in this offense.
Dalvin Cook has a creative ability to move with the ball and move in between the tackles. When Cook gets to the second level, it’s nearly impossible for defenses to stop him. However, last year he was unable to do that. If Stefani is able to get Cook into space, we may be in a world of reckoning. Dalvin Cook had a serious knee injury is 2017 as a rookie and came back last year and faced injuries issues again. Although, the norm for ACL injuries is that they’re easier to come back from as medical technology has improved so much but everyone cannot be Adrian Peterson. Cook is different. I believe it took him a full two years to recover from his knee injury and this season will be his breakout year. At FSU, Cook was the best player on the field at all time and they did a great job of moving him out of the backfield and allowing him to be a receiver as well. Take Christian Mccaffrey and what the Panthers do to disguise him out the backfield and get him in space. I believe Cook has this same type of skill set to do what McCaffrey does. While at FSU, Cook caught only 79 passes but he averaged ten yards per catch in his sophomore year and then 15 yards per catch his last season at FSU. Bottom line — when Cook touched the ball in the pass game, he averaged first down plays.
Last year, the Vikings offense tried implementing Cook in the pass game and it did not work efficiently. He produced 40 receptions for 305 yards and two touchdowns. That is not the optimal stat line you want for your starting RB. But let’s remember Cook did not play all 16 games. That’s what he did on limited targets. The Vikings have a lot of weapons that Cook has to compete with. See Thielen, Diggs and Rudolph. If he is able to play 16 games then we can forecast a potential of 75 catches for 700 yards and four touchdowns. As far as rushing, I believe he can tremendously make a a game changing impact in this offense. Now, that he doesn’t have Murray to share carriesl with, I foresee Cook getting 230-plus attempts and rushing for more than 1,000 yards on the year. And if this does come to fruition, your patience rightfully paid off.