Minnesota Vikings: 5 players who need to step up in 2019

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes /
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(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook - Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

Dalvin Cook – RB

With their first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected running back Dalvin Cook from Florida State. He was taken 41st overall in the second round because Minnesota had traded their first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Sam Bradford in 2016.

The Vikings were looking for a replacement for Adrian Peterson, who signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints.

Cook’s rookie season started with a bang as he led the Vikings in rushing with 354 yards and a 4.8 yards per carry average into their fourth game. A knee injury ended his rookie campaign in Week 5, however, Cook’s numbers still led the team in rushing until the 10th game of the season.

Again in 2018, Cook opened the season as Minnesota’s starting running back. In the first three games, he was only able to muster 107 yards on 36 attempts for a measly 2.7 average. For the season, he played in only 11 games. Cook finished the year stronger, gaining 428 yards on 87 carries over his last seven games with a 4.9 yards per carry average.

Not only will the Vikings need Cook to perform in 2019 as he did over the final seven games of 2018, but they will need him to be durable enough to last the entire season—especially with no proven running back currently on the roster. Including his three seasons at Florida State, the most games Cook has played in a season is 13, which he did twice for the Seminoles.