Dalvin Cook
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With Latavius Murray sidelined, Dalvin Cook is establishing himself as the lead back for the Minnesota Vikings. Early indications are that Cook should be moving up draft boards. I have adjusted my preliminary rankings to put him in the top 15. The Vikings have been praising his pass protection, which is wonderful news if Cook wants to establish himself as a three-down back.
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Cook was impressive in his three years at Florida State. As a freshman he ran for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns on a 5.9 yards per carry average. He followed that up with 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns on 7.4 ypc as a sophomore and 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns on 6.1 ypc as a junior.
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Cook’s receiving totals increased every year also going from 22 catches for 203 yards to 24 catches for 244 yards to 33 catches for 488 yards.
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Minnesota finished dead last this past season with 1,205 yards and 3.2 ypc. They were also one of seven teams that failed to reach double-digit rushing touchdowns. Clearly a change was needed.
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Murray was solid last year with 788 yards on 4.0 ypc and 12 touchdowns, but Oakland had one of the league’s best offensive lines last season. Jalen Richard (5.9 ypc) and DeAndre Washington (5.4 ypc) had some impressive moments as well. He isn’t as dynamic as Cook though. I can see Murray getting a crack at goal line carries, but Cook should lead the team in touches and total yards.
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How much do you like Cook?

Latavius Murray
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The Minnesota Vikings closed the chapter on Adrian Peterson’s tenure with the club with the signing of Latavius Murray. While Peterson is still looking for a home, we’ll take a look at the fantasy football impact of the signing.
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Murray ran for 788 yards last year and 12 touchdowns, sharing the load with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Richard finished with 491 yards while Washington had 467 yards. Murray ran for a decent 4.0 yards per carry, but some of that success can be contributed to running behind one of the best offensive lines in the league last year. Richard (5.9 ypc) and Washington (5.4 ypc) were more effective per touch, minus the scoring of course.
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Murray did a nice job in the passing game with 33 receptions for 264 yards.
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In 2015 Murray ran for 1,066 yards at 4.0 ypc and six touchdowns with 41 receptions for 232 yards. In 2014 he had 424 yards at 5.2 ypc and two touchdowns with 17 receptions for 143 yards.
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He should see his fair share of carries as the primary running back, but will likely see his production in the pass game see a dip. Jerick McKinnon, who ran for 539 yards at 3.4 ypc and a pair of touchdowns with 43 receptions for 255 yards and two more scores, should remain the Vikings’ primary pass catching running back.
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The Vikings have made some upgrades to their offensive line, but they were dreadful last year, averaging 3.2 yards per carry as a team. Peterson had a 1.9 average, McKinnon was 3.4 and Matt Asiata was 3.3. While they will be better, it’s pretty safe to say Murray will be running behind an inferior line in 2017.
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Despite that fact, Murray still figures to be a solid RB2 thanks to his ability to get in the end zone. Asiata had six scores last year and Murray is most certainly a preferred back. McKinnon, meanwhile, falls to RB4-5. He really only has value in PPR leagues.

DeAndre Washington
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It is a bit of a risky move to trust DeAndre Washington in a spot start this weekend with Latavius Murray hurting (toe), but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
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Washington has been effective this year in limited work. He’s averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 46 total yards per game on just 29 total touches.
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Game 1:  5 carries for 14 yards, 1 catch for 10 yards
Game 2: 7 carries for 46 yards, 1 catch for 6 yards
Game 3: 6 carries for 57 yards, 1 catch for 5 yards
Game 4: 5 carries for 30 yards, 3 catches for 16 yards
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Jalen Richard has also been effective this year wtih 45.6 total yards per game on 22 total touches. He’s averaging 8.5 yards per carry and has scored a touchdown.
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Game 1:  3 carries for 84 yards, 2 catches for 11 yards
Game 2: 6 carries for 17 yards, 1 catch for 10 yards
Game 3: 6 carries for 28 yards, 1 catch for 13 yards
Game 4: 2 carries for 15 yards, 1 catches for 5 yards
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The prevailing wisdom suggests that Washington will have more touches than Richard if Murray misses this week as he had eight touches to Richard’s three last week. Both are worth an add in case they go off this week and Murray’s injury lingers. With both expected to contribute, they are best stashed on your bench until we have a better idea of their usage. I would lean Washington as the preferred add.
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Murray has been ineffective the past two games (3.7 and 2.4 ypc), but still has scored in three of four games and has a 4.3 ypc on the season. He may be worth a trade offer as his value is low right now.
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