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Lunchbreak: 4 Vikings Land in ESPN's Top 100 'Most Valuable'

Whether it's through their play on the field or their efforts off the gridiron, there's so much that contributes toward a player's value in today's NFL.

Seth Walder of ESPN complied his top 100 most valuable players from the 2022 NFL season and a handful of Vikings made the list.

Walder placed receiver Justin Jefferson at the fifth spot. He wrote:

There's no way that Minnesota improbably goes 13-4 without Jefferson powering an offense that [experienced] quarterback Kirk Cousins [having] a somewhat down year numbers-wise. Jefferson led the league in receiving yards (1,809), and his Receiver Tracking Metrics were exceptional, with an 83/81/51 Open/Catch/YAC Score triple-slash. That gave him an 87 overall score, behind only two receivers who ran substantially fewer routes than Jefferson.

Left tackle Christian Darrisaw was 53rd, right tackle Brian O'Neill was 66th and tight end T.J. Hockenson was 100th on the list.

Darrisaw started all 14 games he played in 2022, his second pro season and showed multiple reasons why he was selected 23rd overall in 2021.

O'Neill started Minnesota's first 16 games of the season before suffering a non-contact leg injury while hustling after an interception at Green Bay.

Hockenson proved to be a tremendous in-season addition. He caught 60 passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns in 10 regular-season games with Minnesota after the Vikings executed a trade with the Lions. Hockenson led Minnesota with 10 catches for 129 yards Sunday.

Dalvin Cook Finds Positives in First Full Season with Vikings

Although the ending to their season was abrupt, the Vikings will have time to reflect on the positives that were achieved during their 2022 campaign.

As a team, Minnesota compiled 13 regular-season victories, marking just the third time in franchise history the Vikings have crossed that threshold. Eleven of the 13 wins came by way of a one-score margin — setting an NFL record — and Minnesota captured a division title for the first time in half a decade.

Several Vikings players expressed their reflections verbally Monday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center as they cleaned out their lockers, including running back Dalvin Cook.

"It was a great season," Cook said. "We didn't finish how we wanted to finish."

Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press wrote Cook analyzed his sixth season with Minnesota with overall optimism.

Though the sting of the loss hadn't yet warn off, Cook tried his best to look at the positives of season. On a macro level, the Vikings laid a solid foundation in the first season under Head Coach Kevin O'Connell. On a micro level, Cook played a full season for the first time in his NFL career.

"It means a lot," Cook said. "I was there for my guys. That's always been my goal, just to finish with these guys."

Cook has dealt with injuries throughout his entire career. After suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament just four games into his rookie year in 2017, Cook experienced hamstring, ankle and shoulder injuries that led to him missing 13 games in four seasons.

"It was just on my conscience that I could've helped these guys win a game," Cook said. "I could've been out there."

This season, though, Cook showcased durability. In 18 total games (including Sunday's Wild Card game against the Giants), he rushed for 1,233 yards on 279 carries and scored eight touchdowns. He added 45 receptions for 305 yards and a pair of scores.

"Credit to everything we got going on around here," Cook said. "[The training staff] put us in a good position to go out and feel good and go compete."

As the Vikings prepare for the offseason, Mizutani noted Cook is planning on resting and recovering a little bit before getting back to work.

"I'm definitely gonna lay low," he said. "Take as much time as I need to feel good