Grading the Running Backs
One of the biggest questions heading into the season was whether Dalvin Cook could stay healthy enough to make a big impact for the Vikings. Cook has answered those questions by avoiding the injury bug throughout the first half and he has even exceeded his lofty expectations by becoming the centerpiece of Minnesota’s offense.
Through the first eight games, Cook has run wild leading the NFL with 823 yards on the ground and nine total touchdowns (eight rushing) entering Sunday’s games for Week 9. With an offensive scheme that has utilized his shiftiness, Cook has become a big play waiting to happen in both the running and passing game, which has opened everything up in a way that didn’t happen last year.
While Cook has been great, so has third-round rookie Alexander Mattison. While many questioned whether Mattison should have even been drafted in the third round, he has answered his own questions in spectacular fashion.
Mattison’s overall stats of 331 rushing yards and a touchdown are good, but his 4.9 yards per carry suggest that the Vikings would be in good hands if Cook were to go down.
Together, Cook and Mattison have produced at a level that has brought Minnesota’s rushing offense back toward the top of the NFL (1,281 yards ranks second behind Baltimore). That production should help the Vikings maintain their success moving forward.
Cook Grade: A+
Mattison Grade: A