From the moment the Buffalo Bills drafted running back James Cook with their second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft in April, fans were excited to see what the little brother of Minnesota Vikings star Dalvin Cook could bring to the table. Two weeks later, when the NFL released the official schedule for the season, the rookie immediately circled this Week 10 matchup, as he was hyped to possibly face his older brother.
At the time, it wasn’t clear if or how much play time the Georgia alum would get on what was already a stacked Bills roster. While Cook had a shaky debut, fumbling on his first snap and carry which made for a costly turnover in Week 1, he’s since fought hard to secure his spot on the active roster. Thus far this season, the 23-year-old has rushed the ball 28 times for 147 yards and one touchdown along with seven receptions for 96 yards.
Dalvin, who’s rushed the ball 131 times for 608 yards and four touchdowns, along with 19 receptions for 119 yards and a score, has been cheering his younger brother on from afar. But the three-time Pro Bowler admits there are mixed emotions when it comes to playing at Highmark Stadium on Sunday, November 13.
“Yeah, it’s different, Dalvin said, per Vikings reporter Sam Thiel. “I never had the opportunity to be in this predicament. But one of the best to be in. It’s a fun time for my family. But it’s something that I will remember forever. Just taking it all in — a lot of emotions Sunday.”
“It’s definitely going to be fun,” Dalvin added. “It’s just funny how things work out. We made it to the stages of our career that we aimed for when were younger. So, we’ve just got to take advantage of it.”
During the 2022 NFL Combine back in March, Cook imagined what it would be like to play against his brother. “We going to get after it,” he said. “If I’m on the other side, I know he’s going to try to beat me, too, by running all over [my team], so I’m going to try to do the same.”
Dalvin Said There’s Trash Talk ‘Every Day’ Ahead of the Bill vs. Vikings Matchup
While the two brothers will be in competing against each other on Sunday, Dalvin, 27, makes it clear that he’ll always have Cook’s back.
“I be there as much as I can for him. He knows my phone is always on ring for him, he can call me anytime, I’ll answer. Any little thing he wants to know, I’m always there for him,” Dalvin said. “I know how that rookie year gets, that rookie wall and stuff like that, just going through the moments. Just being there for him and talking him through it, but I think he’s having a great time. He’s in a great place. I just think he’s still got plays to make down the line; he’s going to get an opportunity to do that. [I’m] just happy for him to be in the NFL with me.”
Like his brother, Dalvin was also selected in the second round of the NFL Draft – he was the Vikings’ 41st overall pick in 2017. The Vikings star also said there’s a good amount of trash-talking between the two siblings leading up to the Bills (6-2) vs. Vikings (7-1) game. “Every day. Every day. Every day,” Dalvin said. “I’ll talk to him. Just call him and mess with him and see where his head is at.”
Cook Ultimately Beat Out Veteran RB Zack Moss for Snaps
While Cook started the season third on the depth chart, as the season progressed, the Bills looked to the rookie for snaps over their former No. 2 running back, Zack Moss, the latter of whom was ultimately sent to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for Nyehim Hines just before the trade deadline.
Unfortunately for Moss, 24, the writing was on the wall after he was deemed an active scratch against the Chiefs in Week 6. While Bills head coach Sean McDermott later revealed that part of the reason they sat Moss was to have “insurance at tight end with the injuries Dawson Knox has been dealing with,” as reported by ESPN‘s Alaina Getzenberg, the move was a demotion.
During Buffalo’s 38-3 win over the Steelers in Week 5, Moss recorded one carry for seven yards. While the Bills former third-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft was active against the Packers in Week 8, he didn’t participate in a single snap on offense or special teams during Buffalo’s 27-17 win on Sunday Night Football.
The Athletic‘s Joe Buscaglia surmised afterward, “Rookie James Cook has completely passed Moss, and the Bills’ decision was rewarded by how Cook did during his sporadic involvement. In the six plays that Cook was directly involved with getting the ball, the Bills averaged 12.5 yards per play. The play that skewed that a bit was Cook’s 41-yard reception on a broken play, but to the rookie’s credit, he made himself available and found the open space to make a big play. More impressive was his explosiveness as a runner, which is something Moss can’t compete with when you compare the two.”
While Hines could make a dent in the amount of snaps Cook seem moving forward, much of that will depend on how quickly the former Colts star can get comfortable with Buffalo’s offense.