Fantasy Football: Dalvin Cook will be the Vikings' best running back

Adrian who???

Okay, fine, it won't be quite that simple for Vikings fans to move on from Adrian Peterson, but Minnesota's bold move to trade up in Round 2 and draft Florida State running back Dalvin Cook should make the transition easier.

Dalvin Cook RB (2016 season at FSU)
ATT: 288 YDS: 1,765 TD: 19 REC: 33 REC YDS: 488 REC TD: 1

Cook was one of college football's most productive running backs last year, totaling 2,253 total yards from scrimmage with 20 total touchdowns. It was the second year in a row he scored 20 times, and he almost had back-to-back 2,000 total yard seasons, too.

Fast, versatile and just strong enough to handle a good-sized workload, he's tremendously gifted and is the kind of running back who can make an instant impact as a rookie.

But will he get the chance?

Eventually, yes. But the Vikings can't just hand Cook the reins to the offense. Not after signing Latavius Murray and not after the way Jerick McKinnon finished last season.

Murray is a touchdown machine with the most bulk, but he's coming back from ankle surgery and might be a little slow to round into shape in time for training camp. McKinnon has reportedly been working on his footwork this offseason.

Training camp is going to be a lot of fun to watch. While Murray and McKinnon have their positives, Cook is the best talent of the three. All he has to do is show it. Once he does, he'll be off to the races as a 15-touch speedster with potential for some incredible stats.

And that's just for this year. Assuming Cook meets our expectations, both of the other running backs won't even be on the Vikings roster next year. McKinnon is in a contract year and Murray's contract can easily be ripped up. Cook will be there and should be their franchise back.

The offensive line is an issue for the Vikings, but they're working on it with the addition of tackles Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff. But Cook is the only running back the Vikes have who can overcome a mediocre line. He can create plays -- Murray and McKinnon can't consistently do that.

This is all contingent on Cook keeping his head on straight. It's off-field concerns that caused Cook to slip to Round 2 in the first place. There's a clear risk Cook could self-implode and cause issues that set him and the Vikings run game back. That should be priced into any Fantasy value you might consider. 

There's no doubt Cook will be a Top 5 pick in rookie-only drafts, but how soon should Fantasy owners target him in the upcoming season?

Because he's not getting gifted into a primary rushing role like Leonard Fournette will, and because plenty of people will think the Vikings run game will be a mess, Cook's draft stock will slip.

You might find him in Round 7 or 8, which is a terrific time to take a chance on the guy who should be the best running back in Minnesota, and potentially -- if he catches all the breaks -- the best rookie running back in Fantasy.  

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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