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Rule change means Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson could be among players switching numbers

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs in the first quarter against Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

If you own a Vikings jersey with Dalvin Cook’s No. 33 or Justin Jefferson’s No. 18 on the back, you might have to consider investing in a new jersey, or risk having an outdated model. NFL owners approved a proposal Wednesday that will expand what jersey numbers players can wear.

Submitted by the Kansas City Chiefs, the adjustment will enable more players to wear single-digit numbers. Those numbers previously had been reserved for quarterbacks, kickers and punters.

Running backs, tight ends, fullbacks, H-backs and wide receivers can now wear numbers 1-49 and 80-89. Defensive backs can wear 1-49; linebackers 1-59 and 90-99; offensive linemen 50-79; and defensive linemen 50-79 and 90-99. Quarterbacks, kickers and punters will continue to wear 1-19.

Cook and Jefferson would seem like prime candidates on the Vikings to take advantage of the new rule. Will Ragatz, who covers the Vikings for Sports Illustrated, recently wrote about this possibility and pointed out Cook wore No. 4 while playing at Florida State and Jefferson wore No. 2 at LSU. The Vikings have no player using No. 4 with backup quarterback Sean Mannion now a free agent. Britton Colquitt has No. 2 but Jefferson likely would be willing to buy it from the punter.

Cornerback Cameron Dantzler could go from No. 27 back to the No. 3 he wore at Mississippi State, but it’s unlikely anyone has purchased a Dantzler jersey. Cook and Jefferson are another case considering both are key members of the Vikings’ offense and fan favorites.

There is a catch (no pun intended) to this. According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, NFL rules state that if a player wants to change his number for this season, he would have to buy out the existing inventory of jersey distributors. But if he wants to change his jersey for 2022, that would not be the case.

So while number changes could be coming for Cook or Jefferson, it might not happen for anther season.