3 reasons why Dalvin Cook is the best running back in the NFL right now
By Chris Schad
Cook has a valuable role as a receiver
In today’s NFL, it’s not enough to be a force on the ground unless you’re a bulldozer like Derrick Henry. Even then, teams are evolving into passing offenses which means that if running backs are going to get paid like Dalvin Cook, they better be able to catch the ball and do something when it’s in their hands.
Cook passes the test here as he’s done most of his work in the screen game. While most of his targets have been behind the line of scrimmage, Cook knows what to do in the open field. His 11.6 yards after the catch per reception is tied for first (Jonathan Taylor) among qualifying running backs this season and he also led qualifying backs with 11.3 yards after the catch last year.
There’s a caveat to this stat because Cook isn’t involved in the passing game as much with just 14 receptions on the season. But it doesn’t mean he can’t do it. With Gary Kubiak’s system relying more on downfield passes and utilizing the receivers and tight ends, Cook doesn’t have the same opportunities as someone like Alvin Kamara or Ezekiel Elliott does.
It would be intriguing to see Cook on an offense such as the Kansas City Chiefs or New Orleans Saints, but the Vikings seem to do just enough to make him a dynamic threat on Sundays.