Vikings GM compares Dalvin Cook's torn ACL recovery to Adrian Peterson's in 2012

Dalvin Cook lost his rookie year to a torn ACL, but the Vikings aren't expecting the injury to have any long-lasting impact. 

On Thursday, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman revealed that Cook is on track to be ready for the 2018 season. And then he compared Cook's recovery to Adrian Peterson's back in 2012.

"He's progressed very nicely," Spielman said, via the team's website. "I talked to [Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer] Eric Sugarman yesterday when we got back in town, and we don't see any reason where he's not going to be where Adrian Peterson was when he came off his knee [injury].

"We have no reason to believe Dalvin won't even be stronger than he was before the injury," Spielman added. "We're very excited about getting him back on the field."

That's notable. Peterson tore his ACL in December of 2011. Not only was Peterson ready to play at the start of the 2012 season, he ended up rushing for 2,097 yards, coming up eight yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. He averaged an incredible 6.0 yards per carry in that season, singlehandedly dragging the Vikings to the playoffs. He won MVP for his efforts. So, the expectations for Cook in Year 2 were just raised substantially.

For obvious reasons, nobody should be expecting Cook to pull off something similar, even though he did flash signs of greatness before going down. In four games, he rushed for 354 yards and two touchdowns on 74 carries, which means he averaged 4.8 yards per carry. He added 90 receiving yards on 11 catches. According to Pro Football Focus, he forced 18 missed tackles and compiled a better elusive rating than players like Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, and Devonta Freeman. Of course, that's mostly due to the small sample size of his season, but it still demonstrates his potential.

It'll be interesting to see how the Vikings handle their running back situation in the offseason. Latavius Murray, who signed as a free agent a year ago and led the team with 842 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns, has a cap hit of $6.35 million and a dead cap of $1.2 million in 2018, according to Spotrac. Jerick McKinnon, who totaled 991 yards and five touchdowns from scrimmage, will be a free agent and seems to be eyeing a bigger role elsewhere. 

Given Cook's injury and McKinnon's likely departure, it'd probably make sense for the Vikings to make sure they have a solid Plan B behind Cook in case the rehab process doesn't go as well as they're hoping. Keeping Murray would be the easiest move, but his 2018 cap-hit ranks as the seventh-most expensive among running backs, according to Spotrac. If the Vikings really do believe Cook is capable of pulling an Adrian Peterson, they might not want to invest that much money in a backup running back.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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