The Minnesota Vikings kicked off their preseason Thursday night against the Bills, and fans of both teams were eager to see their young players in action. For Vikings fans the big draw is Dalvin Cook, who was selected 41st overall by the Vikings in the most recent draft.
The move is significant for the Vikings, who have been defined for the last decade by the rushing of Adrian Peterson. AP is gone for New Orleans, and the Vikings, who finished 25th in rushing attempts last season, made real attempts to replace him. Cook is competing for carries with former Raider Latavius Murray, who signed a three-year deal in March.
Since the start of training camp, there has been nothing but positive words regarding Cook. Coach Mike Zimmer summed up the praise during practice recently:
“He understands protections, he works hard, they see how he interacts in the locker room, and that’s part of it. And then, when you have a special player—like when we got (Anthony) Barr—they say, ‘Hey, man, this guy is different than other guys.’”
Cook was listed as the starter heading into their preseason opener, and if the first drive was any indication, he’s going to have a busy season. Cook touched the ball on the first three offensive plays, rushing for nine yards on two carries and catching a pass for a first down.
Here’s his first carry:
Here’s the catch:
Here’s Cook looking shifty on a screen pass:
The Vikings ran 11 plays on offense in the first quarter, and Cook was involved in eight of them. He finished the opening quarter with four carries for 12 yards and four catches for 30 yards.
Cook was replaced by Bishop Sankey in the second quarter. He finished the night with five carries for 13 yards and four catches for 30 yards.