Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dalvin Cook's Role in the Kevin O'Connell Offense

   It appears that Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook will have a new role this season, under new offensive-minded head coach Kevin O'Connell. In Cook's Tuesday presser, he told fans to "expect the unexpected." The sixth-year running back has been lining up at wide receiver in multiple sets during OTA's, per multiple reports. 

In the Mike Zimmer era, Dalvin Cook had 1200 total touches, nearly doubling the next closest Viking. His workload has always been a point of concern for the fan base, as he has yet to complete a full season in his career due to a plethora of injuries. 

Cook's 56 career games have him totaling 4,820 yards and 39 rushing touchdowns. He averages 4.7 yards per carry, and has been the focal point of a conservative offense ever since entering the league in 2017. He is one of the few premier running backs in the league, and was the heartbeat of the previous regime. 

The idea of having Dalvin line up in the receiver position for certain packages can be both impactful and injury preventative for the 26-year old pro bowler. In his career, Dalvin has 1,499 receiving yards in his career, with his season high being 519 yards in 2019. The wide receiver position also provides much more longevity to careers than a traditional three-down back. 

With Kevin O'Connell's 11-personnel system, the focal point of the offense shifts identities to more pass-centric play calling. Cook will benefit from this shift as the defenses will be defending the pass more, having five or six defensive backs in the game, which makes getting to the second level much easier. On top of the defense shifting, Cook lining up at receiver will keep his body healthier.

This whole saga concluded with Dalvin himself posting a video to his Twitter account of him coming down with a 20-yard reception against the Steelers last Fall. It is clear Cook is excited for the role, and to be moving around to create those mismatches. 


As fans, we are going to have to wait to see this in action come September when the Vikings open up against Green Bay.

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