Kirk Cousins’ Ex-Teammate Weighs In on Dalvin Cook’s MVP Hopes With Vikings QB

Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins

Getty The Vikings offense excelled under Kubiak.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has become a media darling after posting back-to-back 200-plus yard performances coming out of the bye week.

Cook has racked up 478 yards and six touchdowns in the past two weeks, emerging as a dark horse Most Valuable Player candidate. In the modern NFL that’s predicated on air-raid offenses and is becoming a passing league, winning MVP has become an unlikely feat for anyone other than a quarterback. The last non-QB to win the award? Future Vikings Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson in 2012.

After an abysmal start to the 2020 season, the Vikings’ identity crisis is seemingly over after two weeks of proper execution on offense.  Kirk Cousins has not turned over the ball and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has excelled in his playcalling by balancing a run-first approach with play-action passing that compliments Cousins’ strengths and Cook’s playmaking ability.

Cousins’ former Washington teammate DeAngelo Hall, a three-time Pro Bowl cornerback who played with Cousins for all six of his years in Washington, weighed in on Cook’s chances at winning the league’s MVP award which will require a playoff push.

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Cook Becoming a ‘Lead Dog’

On NFL Network, Hall broke down Cook’s MVP hopes may already be outside his favor being a non-quarterback competing with the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson.

Here’s what he said:

Not often do we want to give non-quarterbacks that MVP kind of credentials beside their name…

I see a dude by the name of Dalvin Cook that dons that Minnesota jersey and he’s been playing lights out. When I think about the impact he means to that team… I played on a team with Kirk Cousins. He’s good enough but just right on the edge that you gotta have another lead dog and Dalvin Cook, what he’s been doing the last couple weeks man, it’s been amazing to watch…

I wanna see a dude like Dalvin Cook — I know MVP’s go to guys whose teams have a chance to win a super Bowl — but Dalvin Cook is a problem.

Cook’s MVP Hopes Lie on Playoff Berth, Ergo Kirk Cousins

Before Peterson, the last running back to win MVP was Ladanian Tomlinson with the then-San Diego Chargers in 2006.

Cook, who’s actually played 5.5 games after suffering a groin injury at the beginning of the second half against the Seattle Seahawks and missing Week 6’s matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, has out-performed both Tomlinson and Peterson through seven games played during their MVP runs.

Tomlinson and Peterson both carried their teams to the playoffs during their MVP runs, and while Cook’s proven just as valuable as both Tomlinson and Peterson with, a playoff appearance will likely be the qualifier needed to give Cook a true chance at winning the award if he remains on pace for 2,000 all-purpose yards.

Cook shouldering the Vikings to victory all comes back to the minds running the offense: Kubiak and Cousins.

If Kubiak can continue to out-scheme opposing defenses who have been well-aware of the Vikings’ plans to feed Cook, there is a strong chance the Vikings can continue to claw back into NFC Wild Card contention with their remaining opponents winning percentage (.449) providing the eighth-easiest remaining schedule in the league.

Cousins, whose league-leading 10 interceptions through the first six weeks contributed to the Vikings’ 1-5 start, has since completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 380 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in a game manager role.

Only three 1-5 teams since 1970 have come back to make the playoffs, however, with the addition of a seventh-playoff spot and the potential for an eighth on the horizon this season, the Vikings’ playoff hopes are becoming more probably by the week.

Their toughest test this season comes on Monday Night Football at Soldier Field where Cook will have to overcome a Chicago Bears defense that has had his number, containing the Pro Bowl running back to just 86 rushing yards and a touchdown on 36 carries across three games.


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