Why Dalvin Cook is a Good Bet to Win NFL MVP 2020
The 2020 NFL MVP race has been a quarterback’s game all year. Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson entered the season as the top threats, while guys like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Josh Allen eventually stepped up to make a case for themselves.
With the season halfway over, it very much looks like one of those quarterbacks will win the award.
Of course, this is the point in the NFL season where you still have time to think a bit outside the box.
Is there another worthy contender that – should things break just right – could shock, win, and return amazing betting value?
I believe so, and it just might not even be a quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook could be that guy, and the evidence is mounting. Past MVP winners have a few things in common, of course. They put up career years – often record-breaking campaigns – and their teams benefit because of it.
That probably means the struggling Vikings need to make the playoffs for Cook’s amazing year to matter. But it could happen, and with time to add even more numbers to his stellar season, there are plenty of reasons why Dalvin Cook really could win NFL MVP in 2020.
The Vikings Can Still Make the Playoffs
A prerequisite for being named the NFL MVP is almost always being on a winning team. Your gaudy numbers otherwise ring a tad hollow if you’re sitting on your couch come playoff time.
To this point, it’s tough to blame Cook for Minnesota’s weak 4-6 mark. He missed a game due to injury, and his defense and quarterback play have been meh-to-horrendous at times in 2020.
The Vikings realized not long ago that they can’t win by the arm of Kirk Cousins alone, but a heavy dose of Cook just might get it done.
So far, Cook has largely been responsible for their four wins. In each of them, he’s accounted for well over 100+ total yards, and/or multiple touchdowns.
It’s all led to him being the best running back in the league so far.
League leader in rushing yards ☑️— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 21, 2020
League leader in rushing TDs ☑️
League leader in total TDs ☑️
Even in the games they’ve lost, Cook has put up big stats and given Minnesota a chance. Their six losses include a one-point loss to the Titans, a one-point loss to the Seahawks, and a three-point loss to Dallas.
Looking ahead, the Vikings are a better team than their record indicates, and they have some very winnable games on the docket against Carolina, Jacksonville, Chicago, and Detroit.
Getting past the Buccaneers and Saints won’t be easy, but if Minnesota wins the games they’re supposed to, and they nab at least one of those tough games, they have a shot.
With seven teams making the 2020 NFL playoffs this year, a record of 9-7 may be enough to get this squad into postseason play. Depending on how Cook finishes the year out from a statistical perspective, that may be enough to get him considered for league MVP.
He’s Overcome a Lot of Obstacles
He’s put the team on his back all year, and more often than not, his big numbers have either translated to a victory, or have come awfully close.
In week 11, Cook put up 160 total yards and a touchdown in a close loss. He had 199 total yards in a wild loss to the Titans back in week three, too.
Pretty much in every spot, Cook has come up rather large.
Whether it’s big plays, his impact as a receiver, grinding out the clock or punching in touchdowns – he’s been one of the most reliable stars in the NFL.
And he’s done it with inconsistent help.
Kirk Cousins has had some solid outings and the Vikings have some very nice weapons in the passing game. But the passing attack has been erratic and was single-handedly responsible for losses to the Packers, Colts, and Falcons.
Cook wasn’t even active for the embarrassing loss to Atlanta, while Cousins played so horribly in the other two games, that he rendered an effective Cook useless.
Then there’s the defense.
While Mike Zimmer has done an honorable job patching up a makeshift unit, the Vikings started 2020 as one of the most porous defenses in football. Their opening stretch included allowing 43, 28, 31, 23, 27, and 40 points.
That wasn’t winning defensive football, and their leaky defense popped up again with 31 points allowed in week 11.
Also, let’s not forget that he got hurt and missed a game. At the end of the year, when we marvel at his elite rushing stats, consider that he’ll have done it all in just 15 games.
If Cook can put up monster numbers and power Minnesota to the playoffs, MVP voters shouldn’t ignore the obstacles he’s gotten through.
His Numbers Are of the Record-Breaking Variety
Despite missing a game, Dalvin Cook is racing toward the record books at a break-neck pace. At one point this guy had scored a touchdown in some manner in each of his first seven contests.
After taking a week off from scoring in week 10, he got back to paydirt in week 11, giving him 13 rushing scores (14 total). He also has 1,069 rushing yards with six games to go.
Is he a great bet to deliver the most single-season rushing scores or the most rushing yardage in a season? No, but he’s going to give it a run for its money.
Seriously, it’s gotten to the point where if he doesn’t have an insane game, it’s kind of disappointing.
When Dalvin Cook doesn't score 40 fantasy points pic.twitter.com/LSjGTRKBrH— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 17, 2020
If he continues his current rushing yardage average, he’s on pace for almost 1,800 rushing yards. If he picks it up and has a Derrick Henry-level ending to his regular season, the single-season rushing yardage mark isn’t impossible.
His touchdown count is impressive, too. He’s had a touchdown in eight of nine starts in 2020, and he’s had multiple scores four different times.
The single-season rushing touchdown mark is 28, and as things stand, Cook has to more than double his scores to get there in less than half of a season.
Asking that is kind of rude, but in theory, that also isn’t totally out of reach. If Cook kept his multi-touchdown scoring ways going in every single game, he’d at least come close (25).
Even if he doesn’t break these iconic records, he’d still have a shot at franchise records, and he’d deliver one of the best rushing seasons in NFL history.
He’s a Highlight Reel Waiting to Happen
One last big thing I think people should consider if they’re thinking about betting on Dalvin Cook to win NFL MVP is style points.
What does a league MVP look like? Are we only paying attention to the end result in reference to their statistics? Do their teams need to have the most wins or have a shot at a title?
If we look a bit closer, Cook is a special case, as he is incredibly explosive and productive at an elite level even when defenses know he’s coming.
Cook’s versatility, power, vision, and speed are kind of unmatched at an otherwise devalued position. Yeah, running backs don’t matter, or whatever, until they kind of do.
Not only could Cook prove that sometimes that just isn’t true, but he could keep doing it in such a fashion that we can’t possibly ignore it.
Will Dalvin Cook Win the 2020 NFL MVP?
Ultimately, your 2020 NFL MVP betting can probably be done safely without paying much mind to Dalvin Cook.
But he deserved to have his case stated. He’s simply been that good.
There aren’t many NFL players who are this dynamic, this explosive, this reliable, and can still put their offenses on their backs in the face of stacked boxes and still execute.
If the Vikings even sniff the playoffs this year, it’ll be thanks to Cook. And if that’s the case, the odds are pretty good it will be because he continued to be relentless in his pursuit for wins and big numbers.
As I write this, it’s only week 12. Cook might only be getting stronger as the rest of the seasons approaches. No, he’s probably not a legit candidate in the year of the quarterback, but the best US sportsbooks are listing his odds at a cool +5000.
There are worse flier bets to be had when you consider the case he’s quietly building.