The NFL Most Valuable Player award is one that’s been dominated by quarterbacks since its inception. And as many teams continue to lean more towards passing offenses, quarterbacks continue to have the best chances at winning the award.
But even with those odds, some analysts have seen through the field of quarterbacks and found some dark horse candidates, including Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.
NFL Analysis Network had this to say about Cook’s chances in the MVP race:
”Dalvin Cook is one of the most explosive players in the NFL. He has speed, vision, and can cut on a dime. Truly Cook is one of the few backs that can score any time he touches the football. Dalvin Cook is also very versatile. He can hurt teams in the passing game just as much as the run game. He isn’t talked about much in the NFL’s best back debate, but he should be. I expect this year to be a big breakout year for Cook.”
The last running back to win the award was Adrian Peterson in 2012 — when the Vikings running back came back from a knee injury and ran for over 2,000 yards.
The concerns around Cook will be him staying healthy for a full 16-game season, but if he can, he’d be a league frontrunner for the rushing title and overall yardage.
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Cook Projected For Productive Season Barring Injury
Last year, Cook compiled 1,654 all-purpose yards last season (1,135 rushing, 519 receiving) the seventh-highest total in the league while missing two games. Cook scored all 13 of his touchdowns on the ground in 2019, and despite some speculation the offense may need to score more, projections are similar to last year’s totals.
Jeff Ratcliffe of Pro Football Focus projected a decline in rushing yards (921), eight rushing touchdowns and 67 catches for 548 yards and three touchdowns — a decrease in total yards (1469) and touchdowns (11).
This may be to speculation of Cook missing a game or two this season as he would average just 57 rushing yards per game otherwise.
If he can stay healthy, his numbers should match or potentially exceed his 2019 totals.
Oddsmakers Have Cook 19th in MVP Running
As of May 31, Caesar’s Sportsbook has Cook tied for 19th best odds to winning MVP at 60/1. He’s among a group of three other running backs (Saquon Barkley, NYG; Ezekiel Elliott, DAL and Alvin Kamara, NO) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has the best odds of any running back at 40/1.
Eleven quarterbacks have better odds above McCaffrey, with 2019 MVP Patrick Mahomes leading the pack at 4/1 odds. Kirk Cousins’ 50/1 odds place the Vikings quarterback tied for the 14th best odds.
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