Former Viking Gets off to Slow Start in New York

Sep 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

On Monday night, the New York Jets were at the epicenter of the football world. Hosting the Buffalo Bills, Robert Saleh’s team was showcasing new quarterback Aaron Rodgers. That lasted for all of a few plays. Dalvin Cook’s exposure was longer, but the former Vikings running back came out slow.

Former Viking Gets off to Slow Start in New York

The storyline for the Jets and Bills was certainly that of the quarterback play. Josh Allen and his Bills are seen as a Super Bowl contender. With New York having brought in Aaron Rodgers, the Jets believed they could compete for the division and into the playoffs as well. Unfortunately, he went down on the first drive, and we now know he suffered a torn Achilles. The long-time thorn in the Vikings side will miss the rest of the season.

off to Slow
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs with the ball against the New York Giants during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

After Minnesota decided to part ways with Dalvin Cook this offseason, it became a question as to which potential suitor would pull the trigger for his services. Although it took some time, and he didn’t wind up heading home to Miami, Cook landed with the Jets as they looked to pair him with talented youngster Breece Hall.

With the Jets leaning heavily on the running game after Rodgers went down, Cook and Hall split carries almost evenly. The former Vikings rusher out-touched Hall on the ground 13-to-10, but his production was nowhere close. Hall ripped off an 83-yard run, while Cook managed just 33 yards. His 2.5 yards per carry were paltry at best, and his longest rush was just 10 yards.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) throws the ball as Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano (58) tackles him during the first half of the home opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK.

As was the case when he was with the Vikings, Cook did factor into the passing game and provided backup Zach Wilson somewhat of a security blanket. He hauled in three passes and turned them into 26 yards. As the season goes on, the Jets will probably hope this is one of Cook’s least productive games.

Head coach Robert Saleh will now be tasked with constructing a new sort of gameplan in the coming weeks as the Jets quarterback dynamic has changed. With Rodgers out for the season, Cook and the running game will become much more imperative to establish. The former Vikings tailback will have ample opportunity to prove he is still worthy of a lead-back role.

If Kirk Cousins or Vikings
Nov 20, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh watches a game against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports.

It wasn’t just that Cook was tied to a massive cap number for the Vikings this season but also that his production waned in 2022. He’d certainly like to prove he still has it at this point of his career, and the Jets stand to benefit substantially if he can find a shred of his youth.

How New York utilizes both Cook and Hall in the coming weeks remains to be seen, but there’s no denying that the plan they had going into Week 1 got torn to shreds just a few plays into the game. Even as a Vikings rival, seeing Rodgers go down is not good for the game, and a potential contender is now left searching for answers. Maybe Cook can provide some of them, but where things go from here will be worth watching.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

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