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Lunchbreak: Dalvin Cook Tabbed as Best Pick in NFC North

Teams from the NFC North combined to make 35 picks in last week's draft.

But according to Bucky Brooks of, the Vikings selection of running back Dalvin Cook was the best move of any team in the division.

Brooks wrote:

Despite the presence of recently signed running back Latavius Murray, the Vikings might've snagged the front runner to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year when they selected Cook in the middle of the second round. The electric playmaker is a home-run hitter capable of going the distance whenever he touches the rock as a runner or receiver out of the backfield. Cook possesses a unique set of skills that will not only remind some observers of Jamaal Charles/LeSean McCoy in their prime, but it will help the Vikings' offense emerge as a high-powered unit with Sam Bradford at the controls. 

Cook holds Florida State's single-season rushing record and broke Warrick Dunn's career rushing record with the Seminoles. The two-time All-American totaled 4,464 yards and 46 touchdowns on 687 carries (6.5 yards per carry) and added 79 receptions for 935 yards in his college career. 

Brooks gave the Vikings a 'B' grade for their overall draft, which tied for the second-best mark in the NFC North.

He said Minnesota also did well in selecting offensive lineman Pat Elflein and tight end Bucky Hodges.

Cook gives the team a dynamic RB1 capable of delivering explosive plays as a runner or receiver from the backfield. Elflein should start at the pivot from Day 1 as an experienced inside blocker, giving the O-line another people-mover at the point of attack. Hodges is an athletic hybrid with strong hands and good ball skills. Johnson is a pass-rushing DT with quick hands and an explosive first step. Gedeon is a tackling machine with solid instincts and diagnostic skills.



Coller: Saints, Rams are most improved Vikings 2017 opponents

The Vikings season-opening game against the Saints is still more than four months away, but one writer is already looking ahead to the *Monday Night Football *matchup.

Matthew Coller of wrote that the Saints are one of the most improved teams the Vikings will see in 2017.

Coller said an emphasis on defense could make New Orleans a playoff team this upcoming season.

He wrote:

The Saints have let Drew Brees down during the twilight of his career. Brees has led the NFL in passing yards for three straight years, but the Saints have gone 7-9 in each of those years and ranked 29th, 32nd and 31st in points allowed. So they made an effort to improve the defensive side by drafting two of the top defensive prospects in the draft and signing Manti Te'o, who missed all of last year with an injury.

Coller also noted that Minnesota's Week 11 opponent at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams, could also produce a better season in 2017.

The Rams may have made the best signing of the entire offseason by locking up left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who Pro Football Focus ranked the second best at his position last year. Jared Goff will feel a lot safer in the pocket as he heads into Year 2. He will also have a few more weapons. (Robert) Woods is a solid receiver, though not a star, and (tight end Gerald) Everett and (wide receiver Cooper) Kupp could take on big roles right away.* *

The biggest win of the offseason was adding Wade Phillips to the staff. He might not be the youngest guy around, but he's adapted brilliantly over the years and led the NFL's best defense in Denver for the last two years.  Los Angeles has a ton of defensive talent for "Son of Bum" to work with.

Coller also said the Buccaneers, Browns and Panthers got better after not making the postseason in 2016.

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