5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers – Week 12

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings /

Cook will get another 30 touches

Since the Vikings came out of the bye, the first page in Gary Kubiak’s playbook has been to get Cook the football. The star running back has received 30 or more touches in three of the four games after the bye and although they dropped the last game to Dallas, there figures to be another heaping helping of touches on Sunday afternoon.

With an average of 32.5 touches per game since the bye, the Vikings are wandering into dangerous territory for Cook’s longevity. If Cook were to keep this pace up throughout an entire season, the Vikings would have fed him 520 times. If he keeps this pace up the rest of this year, he would have 421 carries on the season.

The 400-touch threshold is synonymous with running back decline. Considering the Vikings sunk $63 million into Cook right before the season, it might benefit them to give Cook a load management game and get Alexander Mattison more involved.

The issue is that Mike Zimmer is not going to think this way. As long as the Vikings have a pulse, Zimmer will do what it takes to ensure they come out with a victory. In his mind, that’s giving Cook the football as much as possible even against a defense that is tied for sixth with 4.6 yards per carry allowed this season.