The three-time Pro Bowl running back was seen lining up in bunch wide receiver sets during voluntary OTAs this week, but when asked whether he’d have a larger role as a receiver, Cook deferred any inclination of the possibility he sees more receiver reps.
“I don’t know, we’ve got to wait and see,” Cook said in a May 17 press conference. “I don’t want to sit up here and just tell you all everything. We’ve got to wait and see. We’ve got Green Bay Week 1, so wait and see.”
While Cook wasn’t forthcoming about his potential for an added role in the passing game, he added more ammunition to the mounting anticipation for the 2022 season with a cryptic social media post.
The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!
‘Expect the Unexpected’
On Thursday, May 18, Cook posted a video from his Twitter account with no caption.
It was a play from last season’s 36-28 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, where Cook converted a 3rd and 9 with a 17-yard reception up the middle of the field.
Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content from Skol Nation!
Twitter users speculated the intent behind the message, with the overwhelming consensus being Cook’s expected pass-catcher presence in Kevin O’Connell’s offense this season — a role he seems ready to revel in but is staying hush on the topic.
Cook has 182 receptions for 1,499 yards and three touchdowns in his first five NFL seasons, including a career-high 53 catches for 519 yards in 2019. That season Minnesota ranked eighth in points — the only season the Vikings finished inside the top-9 most productive offenses since 2009.
The potential is there for Minnesota’s offense to break into the upper echelon of the NFL, and Cook could be a vital contributor.
“That’s every year,” Cook said of learning from a new offensive coordinator for the sixth time in his six NFL seasons. “I’m trying to get better every year and that’s working hard, locking in, just coming in with that mindset of a positive mindset and lead in my own way. So, seeing something new from Dalvin? Yeah, I’m working my tail off, I’m grinding, I’m putting in all the work I need to put in. So, yeah, expect the unexpected, if that’s what you want to call it.”
Vikings Receivers Corps Reloaded
With Cook figuring to play a role in the passing game, the Vikings’ pass-catching corps may rank among the league’s best.
Tight end Irv Smith Jr. is also coming back from a meniscus injury last season and should figure to play a major role in his fourth season.
“I know there were a lot of folks excited about him last fall before that injury,” O’Connell said, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “He’s going to be a major part of what we do.”