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ESPN shares big predictions for Vikings running back Dalvin Cook in 2019

Dalvin Cook, Vikings

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has fought through a ton of adversity in his first two seasons. His rookie campaign was cut short due to a torn ACL, and he missed five games in 2018, as well.

Cook is set up to have a big year in 2019, however.

Of all the players on the Vikings, Cook may be the one player that benefits most from the direction the offense goes under Kevin Stefanski and Gary Kubiak. In ESPN’s fantasy preview, the World-Wide Leader projected some solid numbers for the third-year back, should he stay healthy.

ESPN likes Cook to produce 1,152 rushing yards on 255 carries with five touchdowns, as well as 415 yards a two more scores on 54 catches.

There are not many questions about what Cook can bring to the table skill-set wise. He has proven over his two seasons in the NFL that he can be a dual threat that does damage on the ground and in the passing game, and is a willing-enough blocker in pass protection and blitz pickup situations.

Cook’s receiving ability out of the backfield will be a focal point of the Vikings’ offense. He excelled in that role at Florida State, and that has followed Cook to the NFL, as his 9.5 yards after the catch per reception average over the past two seasons ranks tied for 11th among the 87 running backs with 25 or more targets in the two-year span. And he ranks second in forced missed tackles per reception (0.43) among backs with 30 or more receptions since 2017, per Pro Football Focus.

On a team that was criticized for not running enough last year, as well as with the addition of Kubiak to the offensive staff, it seems likely Cook breaks out this season.