Vikings should sit Dalvin Cook, other top players in final game of 2020

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

No need for the Minnesota Vikings to risk some of their best players in Week 17.

Heading into their final matchup of the 2020 season against the Detroit Lions, the Minnesota Vikings no longer have anything to play for other than pride.

Thanks to their embarrassing loss to the New Orleans Saints on Friday, there are no longer any scenarios that could result in the Vikings earning a spot in this year’s playoffs. Which stung even more on Saturday after the Arizona Cardinals also lost since this result would have potentially created a win-and-in scenario for Minnesota in Week 17 had they defeated the Saints.

Instead, the Vikings will get an early start on figuring out what they will be doing in 2021 to improve their chances for next year. Before the offseason officially begins, however, Minnesota has to travel to Detroit next Sunday to close out their schedule for the year.

Dalvin Cook should not be suiting up for the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17

With the playoffs no longer in the picture and the fact that a loss would only result in a more favorable first-round draft position for 2021, the Vikings should be resting a number of their top players when they take on the Lions next week.

Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson are both having record-breaking seasons for Minnesota this year and each could add to their impressive totals in Week 17. However, the snakebitten history of the franchise should be enough to convince the Vikings to sit both Cook and Jefferson next Sunday in an effort to avoid either of them suffering an injury that impact their performance in 2021.

There are a handful of other young players Minnesota should think about resting in Week 17 as well including Irv Smith Jr., Brian O’Neill, Cameron Dantzler, Jeff Gladney, and D.J. Wonnum.

These are all guys who most expect will play a significant part in the Vikings’ attempt to get back on track next season and there is no reason to risk their future in a meaningless game against Detroit.

Sitting Kirk Cousins might be something that Minnesota should also consider for next week. Cousins will likely return to play for the Vikings next season and even if the team selects his eventual replacement in the 2021 draft, they will still need him healthy for at least one more year.

Of course, a lot of these decisions for next week will depend on Minnesota’s depth. The Vikings’ roster has already been ravaged by injuries this year and due to this, they might be unable to sit guys not named Cook, Jefferson, or Cousins.

Will Mike Zimmer and Minnesota make the smart decision next week as he heads into what could potentially be his final offseason with the team? Or will Zimmer risk the health of some of his top contributors in an effort to satisfy his own happiness and finish the season off on a “good note”?