The word in the North is that the Minnesota Vikings are on the brink of a significant change in their offensive approach. The star running back Dalvin Cook, despite having a series of game-changing performances in the last season, appears to be on the chopping block.
The Vikings’ new coach, Kevin O’Connell, seems to be steering the team closer to the style of his former employer, Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams, with a heavier emphasis on passing. Does this mean a shift in the dynamics of our age-old rivalry? Could this decision end up being beneficial for the Packers? We take a look at what it means for our green and gold crew.
When you consider O’Connell’s history and his ties to McVay, this move isn’t a complete surprise. He’s seen firsthand how an offense can thrive even without a star running back. McVay’s Rams found success with a more pass-centric offense after Todd Gurley’s injuries limited their running game, eventually leading to a Super Bowl title in 2021.
How the Packers Can Capitalize on a Dalvin Cook Trade
With the Vikings’ star receiver Justin Jefferson and the recent additions to their receiving corps, they’re well-positioned to pivot to a pass-heavy offense. This shift could potentially make them more predictable, especially for a Packers’ defense that finished 2023 ranked 8th in the NFL against the pass.
While Cook’s absence might initially seem like a blow to the Vikings, they’re preparing to utilize a rotation of less expensive running backs, with Alexander Mattison likely leading the charge. This approach not only allows for more cap space to invest in other positions but also gives them a back who’s considered a better pass blocker than Cook – a valuable asset in a pass-heavy offense.
Cook’s declining rushing yards per game over the past few seasons, combined with the Vikings’ efforts to clear cap space, make this move seem more likely. The Vikings can save a significant amount on their salary cap if they trade or release him now.
So, what does all this mean for the Packers? In short, a pass-heavy Vikings offense might just play into our hands. Our pass defense has been one of our strengths, and we’ve shown that we can hold our own against the league’s top passing offenses. The potential predictability of the Vikings’ new offensive approach could give us an edge in our matchups, making our rivalry games even more exciting.