There's no question that Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is having a career season.
A fully healthy Cook has shown consistently what fans caught glimpses of during his first two seasons, and he entered the bye week ranking second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,017) and yards from scrimmage (1,472) behind Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey.
Cook, who will celebrate his 25th birthday on Aug. 10, recently was ranked 21st on ESPN's list of "Best 25 Under 25." Mike Clay wrote:
Cook would not have been close to being on this list during the offseason, but it wasn't his fault. The 2017 second-round pick's first two seasons were derailed by various injuries (including a torn ACL), which limited him to 1,364 scrimmage yards in 15 games. It's safe to say those concerns are a thing of the past with his dominance so far in 2019.
Cook averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry during each of his first two seasons, but his [4.8] yards per carry in 2019 is [tied for 12th] at the position. Cook is an emerging workhorse, having played 71 [percent] of the offensive snaps, while handling [19.4] carries and [4.9] targets per game. He is a key contributor to a Minnesota offense that is sixth in touchdowns [per game (3.2) and is the [third-most] run-heavy offense in the league (344 rush attempts this season).
Cook was the lone Viking highlighted by Clay on the list; Danielle Hunter just missed the cutoff after turning 25 on Oct. 29.
NFC North rivals included by Clay were a pair of Packers: DT Kenny Clark (19th) and CB Jaire Alexander (23rd).
Topping the rankings at 1-3, respectively, were Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, who was sidelined during the Vikings Week 9 contest at Kansas City; Ravens QB Lamar Jackson; and Texans QB Deshaun Watson.
View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Broncos competed against each other at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Bud Grant, Adrian Peterson announced as finalists for NFL 100 All-Time Team
As part of the league's NFL 100 campaign, the NFL is revealing the 100 greatest players and 10 greatest coaches in NFL history. Every Friday night at 7 p.m. (CT) through Dec. 27, NFL Network will announce the latest members of the All-Time Team during a one-hour special hosted by Rich Eisen and featuring Bill Belichick and Cris Collinsworth.
Vikings fans will be glad to know that Hall of Fame Head Coach Bud Grant was among 20 coaching finalists unveiled by the NFL. The following information was noted for Grant in support of his inclusion:
1994 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee... 1969 NFL Champion with the Minnesota Vikings... Won NFC titles in 1973, 1974, and 1976... Led Vikings to 11 divisional championships in 1968-1971, 1973-1978, and ... NFL head coaching record: 168-108-5 (including playoffs)... Played in NBA, NFL, CFL before embarking on coaching career in Winnipeg as head coach of the CFL Blue Bombers... Four-time CFL Grey Cup Champion... First coach to guide teams to both the Grey Cup and the Super Bowl.
Grant was hired as the Vikings second head coach in franchise history in 1967 and led the team through 1983 before retiring. He was away from football in 1984 but returned in 1985 to coach Minnesota for one more season before hanging up his whistle for good.
Also named as a coaching finalist is Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, who played collegiately at the University of Minnesota and served as the Vikings defensive coordinator from 1992-95. He was hired by Tampa Bay and served as the Buccaneers head coach from 1996-200 and then the Colts from 2002-08, during which he lead Indianapolis to a Super Bowl XLI victory.
The NFL announced the running back finalists earlier this week, and Adrian Peterson was among 24 talented athletes in the running … pun intended.
Drafted seventh overall by Minnesota in 2007, Peterson spent 10 seasons in Purple, during which he was named First-Team All-Pro four times and was a seven-time Pro Bowl invitee. He recorded 1,000-plus rushing yards seven times, and in 2012 he racked up 2,097 yards on the ground en route to being named NFL MVP.
Rudolph kicks off bye week with children's hospital visit
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph will host two more Holiday Huddle events this winter with teammates at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.
But he also stopped by the hospital this week to bring extra smiles to young patients and their families.
Together with Caribou Coffee and Build-a-Bear, Rudolph helped host a special afternoon where children could first craft a Vikings-themed teddy bear and then have the tight end autograph it.