- June 15, 2018 at 9:09 am #21056Joe JohnsonKeymasterNewbieRank: Newbie
One of the biggest blows to the Vikings last season (and really in the past few seasons) was the loss of then-rookie running back Dalvin Cook during week four of the 2017 season in a game against the Detroit Lions. In a statement you won’t hear often, we as Vikings fans have been spoiled when it comes to running backs returning from ACL tears as Adrian Peterson famously returned from his torn ACL (and MCL) to not only produce during the first week of the season but to also get close to breaking the single-season rushing record in his MVP season back in 2012. Because his injury occurred much later in the season and was more severe, most people assumed that Cook would be back at 100% at this point in the off-season, he very well may be but the Vikings aren’t taking any chances and because the OTA’s up until this point have been mostly about getting new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo’s scheme in place, things have been relatively slow. However, it appears that Cook is back at full speed during this week’s mandatory mini-camp, at least according to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero.
“This week the Vikings did give him a full load in practice. That’s another big step forward in his rehab process”.
Pelissero discussed Cook and what he believes is in store this upcoming season on NFL Network yesterday, you can watch that segment here.
What does @dalvincook have planned for 2018?
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) June 14, 2018
Outside of picking up his role in the new Vikings offense, what’s equally important is how he and his knee feel at this point as it’s been widely assumed by the people in the know that Cook will be ready to full action by training camp, but that he’ll most likely play sparingly during pre-season games with an eye on the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers (which sounds a lot like Adrian Peterson as well). When it comes to the health of that knee, Pelissero says:
“He said physically he feels like he’s there, he’s all the way back from that knee injury, and he also feels like he’s close in terms of getting back, seeing the holes, being able to make the cuts, the feel that goes away when you’re not out there playing football regularly.”
When it comes to being able to provide a sigh of relief this paragraph brings that in spades. Back before around the year 2000, ACL tears were often the end of a career for players at any position but especially for running backs as they are so reliant on their ability to quickly make cuts at full speed, which puts a lot of strain on the joints like the knee. To hear that Cook is “close” in terms of being able to make cuts on that knee is super important, especially considering how he injured his knee last season. It was during a non-contact run that Cook, who is known for his ability to make quick and often violent cuts, tore his ACL while running towards a Lions defender. For whatever reason, that cut ended up immediately looking wrong as Cook also fumbled the ball without any contact from the Lions, which meant that there must’ve been an incredible amount of pain from his knee. Him making cuts now is important because as we discussed on The purpleJOURNAL Podcast at the time, being injured on such a standard and non-contact play could have huge ramifications for the confidence that Cook has in his knees in the future. While it’s impossible to gauge where his confidence level in that regard is at this point, it’s just good to hear that things are on track and going well.
Without Cook, the Vikings ended up with the one-two punch of new Viking Latavius Murray and former Viking Jerick McKinnon. With McKinnon signing a big contract in San Francisco, it leaves the Vikings with Murray and Cook to helm the backfield. Murray was a pleasant surprise last season when he was thrust into a role that he may have initially believed he was coming here for (before the Vikings drafted Cook in the second round) and Murray deserves a lot more credit than he gets for what he was able to do last season, and it’s exciting that he’ll be able to provide the thunder to Cook’s lightening this season as was planned before last season.
That’s something that isn’t lost on Cook, who said that while he does have high expectations he does believe that it’s going to be a good year for both Cook and himself. Outside of that Cook also said that he and Murray were having a lot of “fun” playing next to one another and did finish his conversation with NFL Network’s Pelissero by saying that he believes that the Vikings backfield will be able to create “Something special” come 2018. With his knee healing on schedule and in time for the regular season opener and Kirk Cousins under center, it’s hard to argue that he’s wrong. While there are still questions as to who will be the change of pace back behind him and Murray as well as how the offensive line will shake out, there’s just so much to look forward to in the upcoming season that it’s hard to be negative about anything at this point. It sounds like Cook believes that as well and we can’t wait to see what he’s able to bring to the table in a full season as a Viking. Something special, indeed.
- June 15, 2018 at 11:51 am #21057Vikadan11ModeratorNewbieRank: Newbie
Great post ~ Glad to hear Cook feels like he is already recovered and that the Vikings are taking this slow ~ I believe him to be a 3 down RB and should fit nicely with Murray as McKinnon took over for Cook ~ I still can not believe the 49ers gave him that huge contract ~ I loved McKinnon but he has had an injury history until last season ~ But before 2017 he missed more than a couple games every year ~
Murray was a pleasant surprise last season as he got healthy ~ In the first 4 or 5 games Murray was still recovering and it showed ~ However, he finished with 800+ yards ~ At first I was shocked when they even drafted Cook after signing Murray after they had just signed Murray as an FA ~ However, all worked out well ~ Now they will need to find someone to replace Murray after this season because we all know he will be looking for a much bigger contract after what McKinnon got ~ He will be looking for a big year in 2018 ~
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