3 Vikings players who could take a step backward in 2021

(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Adam Thielen
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Adam Thielen /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

Dalvin Cook – RB

Dalvin Cook was a huge piece of the Vikings’ offense last season. Minnesota ran a total of 1,023 offensive plays in 2020 and during 36 percent of those plays, Cook was either targeted as a receiver, or he had the ball in his hands.

The Vikings’ top running back could always defy the odds next season, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that his final numbers in 2021 are going to experience a decline compared to 2020.

Running backs who have finished with 350 touches or more in a season in the recent past have typically not performed as well during the following year.

Guys like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Le’Veon Bell, and David Johnson all saw a decline in their production during the seasons that came directly after a year with at least 350 touches.

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This isn’t to say that Cook won’t continue to perform at a high level in 2021. We should just expect, at the very least, Minnesota’s No. 1 running back to experience a slight decline in his production next season.