Unless a wildcard member of the Minnesota Vikings cracks the Top 30, the franchise will be represented by three players in 2022’s “NFL Top 100” rankings.
Each year, the NFL Top 100 is released by NFL Network, a list of the league’s best performers as voted on by fellow players. Kirk Cousins checked in at #99 for the upcoming season, and Justin Jefferson will be announced somewhere in the Top 30.
Dalvin Cook learned his Top 100 fate on Sunday, ranking #31 among all NFL players. Coral Smith from NFL Network mentioned about the Vikings running back, “Cook collected his third-straight year of 1,100+ yards rushing, the longest active streak in the league, and made the Pro Bowl for the third time.”
Despite the general prestige of existing in the league’s pecking order, Cook fell 11 spots from his #20 ranking heading into 2021. In retrospect, the 2020 season will probably be considered the best of Cook’s career, so 20th is likely his magnum opus per the Top 100 rankings.
In the last three seasons, Cook ranks second in the NFL per yards from scrimmage behind only Derrick Henry from the Tennessee Titans. He also ranks third in touchdowns since the start of 2019, trailing Henry and Aaron Jones from the Green Bay Packers.
Cook must undergo some adaptation in 2022 as the Vikings onboarded a new coaching staff in February. During Cook’s career so far, Minnesota was an unabashed run-first offense but will now pivot to pass-happiness for the first time since 2009. And even 13 years ago, with Brett Favre in command, the Vikings could hand the ball to Adrian Peterson and call it good.
Accordingly, the Vikings and Cook, personally, teased a transition for the Florida State alumnus into more of a pass-catcher in 2022, hoping to fully unlock his skillset. An adept receiver out of the backfield, the Vikings curiously veered away from Cook in the passing game after Kevin Stefanski left for Cleveland in 2020.
Here’s how Cooks has fared with the NFL Top 100 in six years as a pro:
2017 = Unranked
2018 = Unranked
2019 = Unranked
2020 = 21st
2021 = 20th
2022 = 31st
Other Vikings like Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith, Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks, and Adam Thielen will evidently miss the Top 100 cut in 2022. All have appeared in the NFL’s Top 100 in previous years.
Cook turned 27 earlier this month.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).