8 best Minnesota Vikings running backs after their first 3 years

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

8. Tommy Mason (1961 – 1963)

  • 40 games
  • 393 carries
  • 1,729 rushing yards
  • 2,819 yards from scrimmage
  • 24 touchdowns

Kicking off the ranking is the Vikings very first draft pick in team history, Tommy Mason. Selected first overall by Minnesota in the 1961 NFL draft, Mason was also drafted by the Boston Patriots with the third pick in the first round of the AFL Draft during the same year.

Mason’s NFL career lasted 11 seasons, playing six of them with the Vikings. He currently ranks eighth in Minnesota history with 3,252 rushing yards.

Playing for the expansion Vikings, Mason only carried the ball 60 times in his rookie season for 226 yards. That was fifth-best on the team, right behind rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton who rushed for 308 yards.

Over the next two years, Mason led the team in rushing as he averaged 752 yards per season and made the Pro Bowl both years.

Coached by Norm Van Brocklin, Mason and Minnesota only finished with a record above .500 once during his six seasons in purple and the team never made the playoffs.

7. Dalvin Cook (2017 – 2019)

  • 29 games
  • 457 carries
  • 2,104 rushing yards
  • 3,018 yards from scrimmage
  • 19 touchdowns

From the very first running back drafted to one of the most recent, it is not surprising to find Dalvin Cook towards the back end of this ranking.

A second-round draft pick in 2017, Cook only played four games during his rookie season thanks to suffering a knee injury in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions. That number increased to 11 games in his second year to go with 615 rushing yards and 305 receiving yards.

Last season, Cook broke out. Playing in 14 games, he led the Vikings with 1,135 rushing yards and he was second behind only Stefon Diggs with 519 receiving yards.

Currently, with 2,104 rushing yards, Cook sits 16th in career rushing yards for Minnesota. With another 1,000-yard season, he easily moves into the top 10 and he could overtake Mason’s spot at No. 8—provided of course he and the Vikings reach an agreement on an extension.