Now that Dalvin Cook has been released by the Vikings, it’s time to see where he lands on the Vikings franchise All-Time list of top running backs. Here are my top five Vikings running backs in franchise history based on their impact and achievements with the team:
1. Adrian Peterson: Pretty much a no-brainer here, AD is widely considered one of the greatest running backs in NFL history and spent the majority of his career with the Vikings. Known for his incredible combination of speed, power, and agility, he won the OROY in 2007 and NFL MVP in 2012. He owns virtually every career Vikings rushing mark and has nearly 5000 more rushing yards than the number two back in Vikings history – Robert Smith. Striking stat: His 861 yards rushing in December of 2012 (5 games) are the most by any running back in a single month in NFL history.
2. Chuck Foreman: Chuck Foreman played for the Vikings from 1973 to 1979 winning OROY in 73, while being a key part of their success during that era. He was a versatile running back who was equally effective as a rusher and a receiver. Foreman was selected to five Pro Bowls and played a crucial role in the Vikings Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s. Striking stat: His 73 receptions in 1975 led the league, while cashing 9 of those receptions for TD’s.
3. Dalvin Cook: Dalvin Cook’s impact during his six seasons with the Vikings has been significant. Drafted in the 2nd round (pick 41 overall) of 2017, Cook has shown dynamic running ability, versatility, with a strong work ethic and team-first mentality. He has four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons and was a key component of the Vikings’ offense, which ranked 4, 12, and 7 (in yds.) over the past three seasons. Cook’s 82.1 career rushing yards per game is second in Vikings history to Adrian Peterson’s 95.5. Striking stat: Over the last three seasons, only Derrick Henry has rushed for more yards in the NFL.
4. Robert Smith: Robert Smith played for the Vikings from 1993 to 2000 and was known for his speed and elusiveness. Injuries in the early part of his career often kept the speedy runner off the field. When his health stabilized, Smith ripped off four straight 1000 yard plus rushing seasons. He became the franchise’s all-time leading rusher before Adrian Peterson surpassed his record. Striking stat: In nearly 1600 career touches (rush/rec.), Smith fumbled only 9 times. Putting that into perspective, in 1,906 career touches Chuck Foreman fumbled 52 times.
5. Bill Brown: Bill Brown played for the Vikings from 1962 to 1974 and was nicknamed “Boom-Boom” for his reckless, and often violent, running style. He was a four-time Pro Bowler and had several productive seasons with the Vikings. Brown ranks high on the franchise’s all-time rushing and touchdown lists. Brown became the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher at the time of his retirement, accumulating 5,757 rushing yards. He was also the first Viking to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season, accomplishing the feat in 1971. Striking stat: In college, he won the Big Ten shot put title while setting a University of Illinois record.
Who do you think are the top five Vikings running backs of all-time and in what order?