Vikings' Dalvin Cook prides himself on being a 'bell-cow running back'

The Minnesota Vikings hired coach Kevin O'Connell to bring life to the club's offense. The assumption is the Vikes will install a more pass-friendly scheme after being a run-first club under Mike Zimmer.

The new offense doesn't change the mindset of running back Dalvin Cook.

"Wherever they want me to fit in," Cook told FOX 9 Sports' Hobie Artigue. "We got to run the football. That's a must. So, we've got to do a good job at that. However many touches I get, I'm going to take advantage of it. I'm just ready to win games. Wherever I fit in at, if it's an opportunity to help us win a game, 'Put me in there, coach.' That's my mindset."

Cook has made three straight Pro Bowls as the Vikings' bell-cow back. In 2021, he netted 249 carries for 1,159 rushing yards and six touchdowns in 13 games. His 36 scrimmage TDs since 2019 are tied for third-most in the NFL in that span, behind only Derrick Henry (45) and Aaron Jones (40).

The 26-year-old's three straight seasons with 1,100-plus rushing yards is the longest active streak in the NFL.

Entering a new era in Minnesota, Cook is expected to see an uptick in his usage in the passing game under O'Connell. But the dynamic back prides himself on being a workhorse runner.

"I could get the ball 30 times, and you could give it to me 30 more times the next game," he said. "And then I could go out there and catch five or 10 passes. ... Being a bell-cow running back is what I pride myself on being. One of those old school, Warrick Dunn, you know, just being one of those guys."

Injuries are the only thing that has slowed Cook down during his career. The back has missed multiple games in each of his five seasons, including four in 2021.

The Vikings have a solid backfield with Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu and fifth-round rookie Ty Chandler. Minnesota taking some of the pounding hits off Cook's plate and supplementing that production with pass targets could help the bell cow stay healthy for a full season.

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