Dalvin Cook Invites Heavy Workload vs Bears

PHOTO: ELIZABETH FLORES – STAR TRIBUNE

It’s been a rollercoaster season for Dalvin Cook. He’s battled domestic violence-related legal troubles along with head-to-toe injury issues for much of the year. But Cook has been in the Minnesota Vikings lineup on Sundays, more than not. And in 10 games, he has “limped” to 978 yards (good for 3rd most in the NFL) and 6 touchdowns.

The latest setback was a torn labrum (shoulder), an injury known to keep athletes out of competition for 3+ weeks. Not Dalvin, whose hiatus lasted just one game, about a week and a half of recovery time. Cook suffered his injury on November 28 vs the 49ers and was forced to watch an embarrassing loss vs the Lions from the sidelines on December 5. By Thursday, December 9, Cook was back in the lineup and wearing a special brace on his shoulder.

Brace and all, he was the best player on the Minnesota Vikings offense in that win over the Steelers. Dalvin posted 205 yards and 2 touchdowns on 27 carries. When asked by media on Thursday if he’s getting extra practice days off for his shoulder, Cook scoffed. Not only is he not worried about his injured shoulder, Dalvin says, if he gets the ball on Monday night against the Chicago Bears, the Vikings will “be good”. In other words, feed him the ball and win the game.

Matchup vs Bears

When you look at the numbers, Cook is right. The more he gets the ball against the Bears, the better the offense might be. Chicago is 24th in the NFL in rush yards allowed and 21st in touchdowns. Not only have they struggled against the run but the Bears are expected to be short handed in many aspects on Monday. Chicago is down multiple starters and their coordinator on defense, due to either injury or COVID-19 designations.

The Chicago Bears have been better against the pass, allowing the 8th least passing yards league-wide, but struggle to keep teams from throwing for touchdowns, ranking 29th in that defensive passing category. But no matter how well the Bears have played the run or pass throughout this season, the Minnesota Vikings will lean on Dalvin Cook as often as Kirk Cousins forces them to.

If we get the Kirk we’ve seen most of the season, then he and Cook should compliment each other and the Vikings should win against an underwhelming Bears team. But if we end up with the QB from last week, the Vikings offense will need Dalvin to do more.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan