However, there has been an encouraging sign from the first few days of team practices that shows the Vikings’ faith and nurture of Cook. Despite saying he’s “full-go” in a recent press conference, the Vikings have been limiting Cook’s reps at training camp, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
This is encouraging as the Vikings are protecting Cook’s health while they work to reach a deal with his agent. Pelissero wrote that a deal “should come to a head sooner than later,” as the Vikings are 25 days away from their Week 1 home opener against the Packers.
The Vikings made it clear the offense will run through Cook after they traded away star wideout Stefon Diggs this offseason to the Bills, and moving forward without him could show the team is ready to punt the season’s Super Bowl ambitions to 2021.
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Cook Missing Camp Reps A Non-Issue
When the news of Cook’s potential holdout broke this offseason, Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak told local media that he wasn’t concerned if Cook missed time.
“Dalvin Cook is very bright,” Kubiak said. “He has as good a grasp (as anyone) on what we do and how we go about it. Dalvin could teach a class (on our offense) — he’s that bright and that smart of a football player.”
Cook did hold out from the final two weeks of the team’s virtual team meetings but said on Aug. 14 that he’d be a full participant in the team’s first full-padded practice.
“I’ll for sure be out there — coaching, cheering, running the ball. I’m out there full-go, a thousand percent,” Cook said. “I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to lead this young group that we got. It’s a hungry group and I like the locker room that we got. We got some guys that bought in and are ready for leadership. I think we can do something special this year.”
Since then, it hasn’t been Cook limiting his participation but the Vikings as a deal continues to be worked out.
Without a preseason it’s hard to gauge how ready Cook will be if he continues to be limited in practice. It’s become customary for Vikings fans to see very little of their star running backs after Adrian Peterson had sat out of the preseason or took very few carries.
Cook hasn’t been coy about working out while seeking a new deal though. Here’s a video of his offseason beach workouts with Ravens running back JK Dobbins.
Cook’s Instagram has also been filled with the work he’s put in this offseason.
Cook’s preparation this offseason has likely played a part in the Vikings feeling comfortable limiting his reps.
“I walk in this building with a smile because I love being in Minnesota,” Cook said in his Aug. 14 press conference. “This is where I want to be at. This is what I love to do. I was gonna be here regardless of whatever speculations came up… I’ve been grinding all offseason — hitting the weights, hitting the field, getting better at my craft and at my position.”
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.