For the first time in more than a decade, Adrian Peterson is not the No. 1 running back for the Minnesota Vikings. Instead, former Florida State back Dalvin Cook is listed as the Vikings starter heading into the first preseason game.
On their first depth chart of the season, the Vikings list rookie Dalvin Cook as their starting RB.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 7, 2017
Cook is ahead of veterans Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray on the depth chart. McKinnon started seven games last year in place of Peterson, who missed significant time because of a knee injury. McKinnon struggled, though, gaining 539 yards and averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt.
Murray recorded 12 touchdowns in 14 games last year, but that was behind a very strong Oakland Raiders offensive line. Murray has averaged 4.0 yards per carry each of the last two seasons and gained 788 yards on the ground in 2016.
Cook fell into the second round in this past year’s NFL draft, but through the scouting combine process, he was in the same conversation as Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery. Both of those backs went in the top 10.
Last year at Florida State, Cook gained 1,765 rushing yards, which is a school single season record. That mark actually broke his own record from 2015, where he rushed 1,691 yards. Therefore, Cook has the top two rushing seasons for the Seminoles and his 4,464 rushing yards is the most for a career in Florida State history.
The Vikings hope he can help solve a rushing attack that was historically bad in 2016. Minnesota nearly set a new NFL low, averaging only 3.2 yards per carry.
Over the offseason, Peterson signed a deal with the New Orleans Saints. It will be his first NFL season away from the Vikings.