Three Vikings Make ESPN’s List of the Top-100 NFL Players finished their Top-100 players list Sunday night by releasing players 20-1, and on Monday morning, ESPN came out with a list of their own. This list was a compilation of opinions from over 50 of ESPN’s NFL experts based on expectations for the 2022 season. The Vikings had the same three players appear in this list as the NFL’s–Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins, and Justin Jefferson–but in ESPN‘s they all landed in different places. For comparison’s sake, here is where the trio ranked in the NFL’s list:

  • Kirk Cousins, No. 99
  • Dalvin Cook, No. 31
  • Justin Jefferson, No. 17

And here is where ESPN ranked them:

  • Kirk Cousins, No. 89
  • Dalvin Cook, No. 81
  • Justin Jefferson, No. 7

The most notable difference here is the discrepancy of Dalvin Cook placements. He lands an astonishing 50 spots lower on ESPN‘s list than he did on the NFL’s. Much of the reasoning behind this seems to be that Cook turned 27-years-old this year, putting him on the back end of a usual star NFL running back’s career.

Cook had his lowest number of touches in 2021 (283) since 2018, dipping under 300 for the first time in that timespan. With the Vikings seemingly headed towards a pass-heavy offense under Kevin O’Connell, it’s reasonable to believe that Cook’s production could take another hit in 2022.

The Vikings also have a duo of potentially great running backs behind Cook in Ty Chandler and Kene Nwangwu who should eat up some snaps this year as well. A lower workload will likely go a long way in preserving some longevity of Cook’s career as well. He has missed games in every season of his NFL career. but he missed four in 2022 with various injuries.

Finally, it’s worth noting as well that ESPN‘s list generally valued running backs less than the NFL’s. Despite coming in 50 spots lower, Cook is still the fifth-ranked running back for ESPN. Jonathan Taylor was RB1 on the list despite coming in at No. 18 overall.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken