Vikings coach Mike Zimmer does not throw praise around like air. Every word has weight.
Following the Vikings’ 28-22 victory over the Packers where Dalvin Cook totaled 226 yards and four touchdowns, Zimmer gave the 25-year-old running back a glowing comparison to one of the greatest running backs of all time — Emmitt Smith.
“I’ve said this many times about Dalvin, but he’s got such quick feet and acceleration… He runs hard, and runs physical,” Zimmer said in a press conference on Monday. “He’s a good leader. Emmitt [Smith] was a lot like that. Really good feet, quick accelerator. Powerful runner. Good vision.”
Zimmer’s comparison comes from first-hand experience coaching both Cook and Smith. Zimmer joined the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive backs coach in 1994 and spent six years with the team and Smith, winning a Super Bowl ring in 1995.
Smith is the leading rusher in NFL history and seemingly untouchable by any modern running back. His 18,355 career rushing yards in 15 seasons leads Frank Gore, who is third all-time with 15,687 rushing yards and is currently playing for the Jets in his 16th season. Future Vikings Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson is fifth all-time with 14,537 rushing yards and currently plays for the Lions, who the Vikings face this week.
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Vikings Offensive Line Imposes Its Will on the Packers
Smith had an extraordinary offensive line blocking for him at the time while the Vikings line has remained a point of concern for the franchise. On Sunday, however, the group shined in helping Cook become the first Vikings player to score four touchdowns since 1979. He let three teammates spike the ball on his touchdowns but not before he celebrated his first score of the game with a Lambeau Leap.
— KFAN1003 (@KFAN1003) November 2, 2020
“I always wanted to do it. I couldn’t help myself,” Cook said of his Lambeau Leap. “You always appreciate what people do for you I know how much I work and I know how much those guys work. You have to commend those guys, too, because I’m grinding for my brother next to me. There’s no award for them, it’s me scoring the touchdown and they don’t get to score the touchdown. I want them to feel the same feeling that I feel when I’m scoring the touchdown. Those guys are the reason I’m in front of you, giving you guys a winning speech.”
He also became the first player to surpass 200 yards from scrimmage and score four touchdowns at Lambeau Field in what was his first win against the Packers after he was on injured reserve when the Vikings last beat the Packers in 2017.
“It felt great. This was my first win at Lambeau, and that’s most important,” Cook said. “Getting my team back on track and getting the team back where it needs to be at. We work so hard every day, limitless hours that nobody knows.”
Cook’s Postgame Outfit Goes Viral
As awe-inspiring Cook’s performance was, his postgame press conference may stand up to his highlights as Cook entered the press conference wearing shades and a gold chain.
This is how Dalvin Cook pulled up to the press conference after scoring 4 TDs
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 1, 2020
When asked if he had “gone Hollywood” after his performance, Cook’s humble persona re-emerged behind the shades.
“Nah I wore these in here today,” he said. “I don’t want to show y’all how tired I am after the game.”
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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.