Peter King predicts Dalvin Cook will be haunting defenses by Halloween

Name the five best running backs in the NFL. Now take one of them out and insert Dalvin Cook.
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Dalvin Cook will soon be considered one of the best running backs in the NFL.

We're not saying it. The MMQB's Peter King is.

"By Halloween, Cook will be a top-five NFL back," King said in his Tuesday column, where he also ranked the Vikings No. 16 in his early power rankings for the 2017 season.

King is the kind of guy that gets to walk amongst the players during training camp while the rest of us media folk have to stay outside the painted lines surrounding the field, so his prediction holds water.

King doesn't go any deeper into his prediction and he doesn't need to. He's essentially saying Cook will be on the same level – or close to it – as the best in the league. The top five right now are probably Le'Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot, David Johnson, Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy.

The next tier of the NFL's top running backs includes the likes of Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard, DeMarco Murray, Jay Ajayi, Lamar Miller, LeGarrette Blount, Melvin Gordon and, dare we say, Adrian Peterson.

He doesn’t move the sticks – he changes the numbers on the scoreboard

If Freeman is a top-five back, maybe it would be wise to listen to the man who coached Freeman and Cook at Florida State.

"I’ve coached a lot of great backs; Devonta Freeman, who’s an All-Pro in the league right now playing as well as anybody in the NFL," Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher told ESPN. "Devonta was a phenomenal player. But Dalvin was more dynamic because of the home-run speed and from that standpoint I haven’t coached against a back or coached a back that was so dynamic that every time he touched the ball, he could score a TD."

Fisher thinks Cook was easily a first-round talent. The Vikings got him with pick No. 41 in the second round.

“You tell me a better back in the draft that runs with power inside, can bounce the plays outside, can catch the ball out of the backfield, can split out and catch it and when he gets in green grass, he doesn’t move the sticks – he changes the numbers on the scoreboard,” said Fisher on “The Rich Eisen Show.”

King must also think pretty highly of the upgrades the Vikings made on the offensive line to think Cook will be a top-five back by Halloween.

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