Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook has received rave reviews during the first week of training camp. Head coach Mike Zimmer has heaped praise on the rookie out of Florida State, saying “there’s something different about this guy, the way he runs, accelerates, the creases he can get to. He’s got a tough mentality. Players can see exceptional athletes. When they go out there and they’re going against guys, they can see: This guy is pretty good.”
Cook has big shoes to fill, he’s replacing future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson who played for the Vikings for ten seasons. While both Peterson and Cook are threats to score every time they touch the ball, Cook is a very different type of running back than Peterson. Peterson’s strength and physicality was a very important part of his game, while Cook is less physical but is much more capable in the passing game. At Florida State, Cook had 79 receptions for 935 yards, 55 more receptions than Peterson had during his time at Oklahoma.
Passing is a bigger part of the NFL than ever before. Cook seems to be built for the modern NFL. Coming out of college, he was lauded not only for his ability catching the ball, but also his pass protection. Peterson often would come out during third and long situations, but Cook should be able to be a three down player due to his blocking and catching.
It is unclear if Cook will start for the Vikings going into the regular season, but it seems like a possibility. The Vikings signed Latavius Murray in March, and most expected him to be the starter. However, Murray has been dealing with an ankle injury and has been unable to practice so far with the team. There is no timetable for Murray’s return, though the team has said he will be off of the physically unable to preform list by opening day. The team also has Jerick McKinnon who split carries with Matt Asiata last year. But McKinnon was injured on the first day of camp and has not practiced since. With Murray and McKinnon both missing time, the stage seems set for Cook to win the starting job.
Dalvin Cook is not Adrian Peterson: the two backs have little in common. But the explosiveness they share inspires fear in defenses. Cook has a lot to live up to, and it looks like he will have every opportunity to prove himself for the Vikings this year.