NFL

Dalvin Cook Has Channeled His Inner Adrian Peterson and Joined the NFL’s Best Running Backs

Football fans would be wise to include Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook among the best at his position.

Cook, the fourth-year standout from Florida State, is having a stellar 2020 campaign. If the Minnesota Vikings have any outside hopes about reaching the postseason, it’s a good thing that Cook is in the backfield.

Dalvin Cook is in his fourth NFL season

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Still only 25, Dalvin Cook has improved every season he’s been in the league.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Cook, a two-time All-American at Florida State, using the 41st overall pick in 2017. Cook totaled 354 yards and two touchdowns in four games as a rookie before going down with a torn ACL.

The rookie was on pace for 1,416 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns across a full season.

Cook ran for 615 yards and two touchdowns in 2018. He broke out last year, running for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns in 14 games.

The third-year back also caught 53 passes for 519 yards.

Cook earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time. The former All-American ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns on an even three yards per attempt in two playoff games.

Cook is having a tremendous 2020 season

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Dalvin Cook has carved up NFL defenses all season.

Despite missing one game with an injury, Cook currently leads NFL running backs in rushing yards (858) and touchdowns (12) on an even six yards per attempt.

Cook has also turned 16 catches into 173 yards and a touchdown.

If Cook holds on to his current pace, he will end the 2020 season with 1,839 rushing yards and an eye-popping 26 touchdowns.

Only four running backs in NFL history have scored at least 25 rushing touchdowns in one season. Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith had an NFL-record 25 in 1995, but Chiefs star Priest Holmes broke the record with 27 in 2003.

Shaun Alexander ran for 27 touchdowns in 2005, the same year that the Seahawks star won MVP. LaDainian Tomlinson ran for an NFL-record 28 scores in 2006.

No running back has topped the 20-touchdown mark since Tomlinson.

Smith and Tomlinson are each in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dalvin Cook has truly become one of the NFL’s top running backs

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It is time to start listing Dalvin Cook among the league’s best running backs.

Titans star Derrick Henry still leads the pack, even if his 843 rushing yards narrowly trail Cook’s 858, as of Nov. 9, 2020. They are the only two running backs who have even topped 600 rushing yards so far.

Josh Jacobs, the Raiders’ second-year running back, ranks third with 588 rushing yards.

Panthers icon Christian McCaffrey missed nearly two months with an injury, and Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott — while having a productive year on the ground — leads non-quarterbacks with five fumbles.

Dalvin Cook has earned more respect, and it isn’t unrealistic to think he has an outside chance at running for 2,000 yards.

Now, the Minnesota Vikings just need to start winning games. Minnesota has won two straight and has a winnable road game at Chicago next Monday.

The Vikings then host Dallas, Carolina, and Jacksonville. If Minnesota wins all four games, they would be 7-5 entering a Week 14 showdown with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For Minnesota to stay in the playoff hunt, much like they did in Adrian Peterson’s historic 2012 campaign, the Vikings will need to depend on Cook and let the star work his magic.

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