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Lunchbreak: Vikings RB Rotation Ranked 3rd in NFL Going Into 2022

Dalvin Cook's No. 31 ranking in the NFL Top 100 was announced Sunday.

The NFL knows of Cook's talents, but some quite aware of what the Vikings have in the running backs room behind the three-time Pro Bowler.

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently wrote about the 10 best running back rotations going into the 2022 season. Benjamin ranked the Vikings trio of Cook, Alexander Mattison and Kene Nwangwu third on the list, behind the Cleveland Browns (Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and D'Ernest Johnson) and the Indianapolis Colts (Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines and Phillip Lindsay), who took the top two spots, respectively.

Benjamin wrote:

There are maybe one or two backs who command more attention than Cook when fully healthy. Even if he's a safe bet to miss a week or three each season, the Vikings star is one of the most gifted natural runners in football. His top speed is unreal. Mattison, meanwhile, is practically a clone in terms of size, and has been an underrated No. 2 for years.

As for other teams in the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers group of Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon and Kylin Hill were ranked fourth. The Vikings will open the regular season against the Packers on Sept. 11.

Benjamin said Green Bay will look to rely on Jones and Dillon a lot, especially with the loss of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' favorite receiving target, Davante Adams.

The Vikings final preseason opponent on Aug. 27, the Denver Broncos, were ranked eighth by Benjamin. The Broncos are led by Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon III and former Viking Mike Boone.

Benjamin said Williams should be the primary ballcarrier, but added Gordon and incoming QB Russell Wilson are capable of moving the offense forward with their legs.

In order, Baltimore (fifth), Dallas (sixth), New Orleans (seventh), Denver, Tennessee (ninth) and Carolina (10th) rounded out the Top 10.

The Athletic's stock report on Vikings

The Vikings fell to 0-2 on the preseason with a 17-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday. Arif Hasan of The Athletic broke down in a stock report of some Vikings players who might be on the rise and others who might be falling going into the final week of the preseason.

One of the players Hasan listed as trending up was Pat Jones II. While Jones only recorded half a sack against the 49ers, Hasan said the outside linebacker could prove to be a consistent backup option. He wrote:

Aside from generating pressure and pushing the quarterback into other defenders, Jones consistently set the edge and closed down on running backs, forcing losses for the offense. His pressure performance wasn't bad either, contributing a pair of quarterback hurries in addition to his presence in the run game.

Hasan also listed tight end Zach Davidson as potentially trending down.

Despite playing 38 offensive snaps — the most by a Vikings skill position player for the second straight week — Davidson only registered one catch for six yards on Saturday. Hasan wrote:

Davidson's profile as a tight end has been as a raw athlete needing technical development. Nowhere was that more obvious than [the game against San Francisco], where his athleticism gave him opportunities to make plays but his lack of refinement didn't allow him to follow through. The Vikings are still expecting Irv Smith, Jr., to be back by the time the season starts and it looks like they'll need him to.