The Minnesota Vikings won’t be able to replace Adrian Peterson. Ever. Not in 2017. Not in 2020. Not in 2050.
Peterson is a generational talent and expecting another running back to come close to matching what he did for the Vikings is a foolish task. That said, Minnesota took the necessary steps to find a quality NFL starter this offseason with the signing of Latavius Murray and the drafting of Florida State standout, Dalvin Cook.
Cook is the better of the two running backs, and for my money, it’s not all that close. At the start of Vikings training camp, he’ll have a huge opportunity to prove it.
According to the Star Tribune, Murray will begin camp on the PUP list, a designation that allows him to return before the start of the regular season. If he stays on PUP heading into Week 1, he’ll have to sit for the first six weeks.
Cook should have been drafted in the first round last April. His off-field concerns combined with shoulder issues and a subpar NFL Combine performance caused him to slip into Round 2. His fall was a gift for the Vikings.
Cook dazzled during his time as a Seminole. He left Florida State after running for 4,464 yards and 46 touchdowns (6.5 yards-per-carry) in three seasons as the primary ball carrier.
Even if Murray is able to recover in time for the start of the regular season, he’s proven to be an average NFL player during his tenure with the Oakland Raiders. Sure, he’s a serviceable starter, but Cook possesses special traits that will make it hard for the Vikings’ coaching staff to keep him on the bench.
Cook will shine when his number is called, which looks like it will be a lot sooner than many expected on draft day.