Vikings plans for Dalvin Cook should terrify opponents in 2022

(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /

Reports out of OTAs appear to indicate that the Minnesota Vikings are going to utilize running back Dalvin Cook in a variety of different ways in 2022.

The Minnesota Vikings are going to look a lot different from the top-down next year. A new general manager, a new head coach, and a new coaching staff will bring along new schemes and they will be putting familiar players in unfamiliar places.

One Vikings player who could take on an unfamiliar role next season could be running back Dalvin Cook. While he is still a lock to remain the team’s bell-cow running back and dominate the backfield touches, there are murmurs coming out of OTAs that Cook could be utilized more as a wide receiver in 2022.

So while Cook is changing his jersey number from 33 to 4 this upcoming season, Minnesota could also be looking to get him the ball in a variety of different ways as a receiver as well.

What will the role of Dalvin Cook look like in the new Minnesota Vikings offense?

While Cook will be continuing his role as the team’s lead back and should see over 20-carries a game next season, the Vikings have reportedly been lining Cook out wide in some three-wide receiver sets during their recent OTA practice sessions, according to The Athletic’s Chad Graff.

This could express the desire to have Cook more involved in the passing game and get him the ball in space, something Minnesota fans have been begging for the past few seasons.

Cook seems to be ready to take on these new responsibilities in the offense. He recently tweeted out a video of him making a difficult catch in traffic on a crucial third-down conversion against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.

With no caption to the tweet, the Vikings running back literally let his ability speak for itself.

While Cook is regarded among the best backs in the league, he doesn’t see the same volume of action in the passing game as some of his peers like Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara.

Cook has seen his targets increase over the years, going from 11 catches in his rookie year in 2017 to averaging 43 receptions per season since then, with a career-high 53 catches for 519 yards in 2019.

A possible commitment to getting Cook more involved in the passing game is yet another example of the Vikings’ shift to a modern approach to the game of football.

It is exciting to think about the possibilities of this approach, getting Cook involved in the bubble-screen game and getting him 1-on-1 mismatches against linebackers as opposed to tosses in the backfield for a negative gain on 2nd-and-long. It gives optimistic Minnesota fans all the more reason to continue our naively optimistic ways.

What exactly the offense will look like next season remains to be seen, and the Vikings are not being quick to give any answers.

“We’ll see, I don’t want to sit up here and tell y’all everything,” Cook told reporters earlier this week. “That’s every year. I’m trying to get better every year. Seeing something new from Dalvin? Yeah. I’m working my tail off. I’m grinding, putting in all the work I need to put in. So, yeah. Expect the unexpected.”

While the unexpected is to be expected, perhaps Minnesota’s new regime is hinting to expect that they will maximize the talents of their best players.

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