Decreasing Dalvin Cook’s snaps would be a terrible choice for the Vikings

(Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook
(Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /

There is no reason for the Minnesota Vikings to give their best player fewer touches.

After their first five games of the 2020 season, the Minnesota Vikings were 1-4 and Dalvin Cook was only averaging 20.8 touches per matchup.

In the four games since the Vikings’ bye in Week 7, Cook has seen his touches per contest increase to 30.5 and it has resulted in Minnesota winning three of these matchups. The winning formula for the Vikings this season seems pretty simple and it involves making sure their top running back gets his hands on the ball as much as possible.

Despite Minnesota’s success when Cook gets a high amount of touches in a game, there are some who don’t think it’s a strategy that can last for the Vikings.

Why in the world would the Minnesota Vikings give Dalvin Cook fewer touches?

At his current pace, Cook will finish the 2020 campaign with at least 370 total touches. During the history of the NFL, 65 players have finished a season with 370 touches or more.

Among this group are guys like LaDainian Tomlinson, Curtis Martin, Edgerrin James, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, and Barry Sanders. These six specific players all have a pretty significant thing in common and that is be the fact that they all have a bronze bust of their head inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But what about Cook’s injury history? You mean the guy that’s appeared in 32 of Minnesota’s last 35 matchups, including the 2019 playoffs?

Yeah, but haven’t there been a bunch of games that Cook hasn’t finished during this stretch? In his last 32 appearances in a Vikings uniform, the talented running back has failed to be on the field for at least 55 percent of the team’s offensive snaps just four times.

Well, what about Cook’s future with Minnesota? They just signed him to a five-year extension, won’t giving him a high amount of touches each week take seasons off of his career?

Remember when we mentioned earlier that Cook was on pace to surpass 370 touches this year? Those six Hall of Famers we also mentioned combined to finish with at least 370 touches in a season 31 times (Tomlinson accounted for seven of these seasons).

Cook is currently in the prime of his career. Why should the Vikings reduce his touches just so that they can make sure he’s still healthy enough to play around the time when running backs typically hit their wall?

Cook is playing at an MVP level this season and Minnesota needs to utilize him as much as possible. Football is the wrong sport to be thinking three or four years down the line. That’s pretty much an eternity in the NFL.

Who knows what lies in the future for Cook in 2021 or 2022, so the Vikings should be taking advantage of his high level of play while they can. Minnesota has realized this during the last few weeks and it’s resulted in them believing that a spot in the playoffs is still within reach.