Travis Etienne – RB (Clemson)
Dalvin Cook is set to be a free agent after the 2020 season and he will want a lot of money to return to Minnesota. Running back contracts are tricky and Christian McCaffrey‘s newest deal is a baseline for Cook moving forward. Carolina’s running back recently signed for $64 million over four years.
There is no question that Cook is the life and engine of the Minnesota offense. He deserves every bit of money he is set to make in 2021. But with an injury history and the Vikings being close to the cap as it is, they might be better off looking elsewhere. Travis Etienne is a perfect replacement in the first round.
The Vikings have a good enough roster to afford spending a first-round pick in the backfield for a much better contract. Etienne plays with insane speed and would he thrive in Minnesota’s zone-blocking scheme as a seamless transition from Cook. He ran for 1,614 yards and 19 touchdowns last season while adding 432 yards and four scores as a receiver.
Etienne is a do-it-all back who can easily blow by the defense on his way to a long touchdown. He has averaged 7.8 yards per carry in his career while accumulating 62 total touchdowns. His production is silly on the collegiate level and he would be a fun pick for the Vikings next year.