Coming into the contest against the Detroit Lions, there was one thing head coach Kevin O’Connell should’ve been plenty aware of. The Dan Campbell defense is nonexistent. That said, the easiest way to beat them is through the air, and he clearly missed that memo. Dalvin Cook made sure to remind him.
Through 12 games this season, Dalvin Cook has done nothing but lose himself money. He’s averaged a career-low in yards per game and has routinely looked like an afterthought on a more dynamic offense. Despite being considered an option in the passing game, his involvement there has also rivaled career lows.
When taking the field against the Lions this week, Minnesota would be without two starting offensive linemen. Although he had shed the red no-contact practice jersey, Christian Darrisaw was listed as questionable before ultimately being listed as inactive. For another week, starting quarterback Kirk Cousins was without his blindside blocker.
Something seemingly shocking coming into the season, Minnesota was also going to miss center Garrett Bradbury. Having been a turnstile in previous seasons throughout his career, he has actually held his own thus far. Ruled out for the contest against Detroit, though, it was special teamer Austin Schlottmann that was elevated to the starting lineup. Bad defense or not, Minnesota was putting just three of their five starters against the Lions front.
How did Kevin O’Connell respond to that? Well, like a rookie head coach looking to take his lumps may be expected.
Throughout multiple quarters on Sunday, Cook was allowed to slam himself into a line that got no push. At the half, he had rushed for a disgusting 0.4 yards per carry. Finishing the contest with 15 carries for 23 yards, it couldn’t be more clear how nonexistent Cook was as a contributor for this Vikings team.
There’s an opportunity for Minnesota to cut Cook following the season and endure a cap hit of right around $6 million. The 27-year-old would certainly love to seek a big-time payday, but in his first opportunity to succeed with a progressive offense, he flopped harder than he ever has before.
It may not be the Alexander Mattison show, and we have yet to see what Ty Chandler looks like, but needing to clear space and rejuvenate a roster, Cook looks to have made his future with the Vikings an easy decision.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.