Can Dalvin Cook, our injury-prone RB, remain the primary option on offense?

July 30, 2021; Eagan, MN, United States; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) and running back Ameer Abdullah (31) huddle with runners on training ground at the TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Many of us have tried to overlook, evade, or explain this obvious reality. At this point, though, we really can’t help it: Dalvin Cook is prone to injury.

He is in his fifth season in the NFL. He has officially lost time in all five seasons due to injury.

To be clear, no one should doubt his abilities. We can all see that he is a gifted player. In just 14 games, Cook had more than 1,500 rushing yards last season. We should also be able to see that he is tough and one of our best leaders. I admire his ability to recover from injury and be a vocal leader with his teammates.

However, the general point remains: Dalvin Cook is prone to injury.

He missed our Seattle game and was limping in our Cleveland game. Her status for week 5 is uncertain. Given his injury history, I think the Vikings should face him against the lowly Lions. Of course, many NFL teams have regretted taking an opponent lightly, so we must avoid this trap. Alexander Mattison and Ameer Abdullah are good options in the running game (and passing game, for that matter). These 100% endorsements can replace a cook who has less than 100%.

Lately, I’ve been wondering what the conversations have been between the Minnesota coaching staff. The goal is to prevent Cook’s injury from becoming a season-long test. Ideally, you can take full care of your health to be there for the long haul. Even if he completely overcomes his current injury, can we still rely on him as the primary option on offense? Most of the time it feels like a matter of time before the next injury. Being an NFL running back is exhausting, but Cook certainly seems to hurt himself more than most. Should we lean even more on Kirk and those WRs? Mattison certainly needs to be a bigger focus throughout the season.

Cook is only 26 years old; Minnesota still has him under contract through the 2025 season. The plan evidently was (and probably still is) for Cook to be a focal point for the Vikings to move on. It’s hard to make a difference when you’re constantly hurt.

I am of the opinion that it is crucial for us to establish the running game against Detroit. Cook’s presence or absence does little to change that priority. Sitting him down is the smartest thing to do, even though he was able to get at least some work to follow his midweek DNP. Let’s take care of Detroit while Cook recovers. From there, get ready for a tough Carolina game before the break begins.

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