Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has never had a number in mind regarding his goals for the season.
His mind is on one thing: making the playoffs.
Cook was asked by Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson what his yardage goal was for the 2021 season on Wednesday after nearly eclipsing 2,000 all-purpose yards a season ago.
Cook took a sigh and pivoted to a more important concern to him.
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“I want to make the playoffs. That’s my goal,” Cook said. “I never really set a goal ever since I got to Minnesota. It was always go out there and be Dalvin Cook and I think everything will take care of itself. I’ve never set a goal for X number of yards… I always said ‘work hard,’ and when the season come around, just be who I am and let it go. That’s what I do.”
Cook Looking to Build Playoff Pedigree
Cook has become one of the top running backs in the league after finishing second in all-purpose yards a season ago behind NFL rushing titleholder Derrick Henry.
However, reputation is built on more than just numbers, and Cooks seems adamant to take the Vikings deep in the postseason and make a run for the Super Bowl.
Cook missed out on the 2017 NFC Championship game run after suffering a torn ACL injury four weeks into his rookie year.
His health became a hot-button issue among fans who weren’t ready to crown Cook among the league’s best backs after he missed an additional four games in 2018.
But the past two seasons, Cook has remained reasonably healthy, playing in 14 games in 2019 and 2020.
He earned his first Pro Bowl mention after rushing for 1,135 yards and gaining another 519 receiving yards in 2019. Cook shined in Minnesota’s 26-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card round that season, totaling 130 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
Cook and the Vikings offense was held in check as a whole against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round. He gained just 18 yards on nine carries and eight yards on six catches.
In 2020, Cook proved his worth after signing a five-year, $62.5 million contract in the offseason, finishing second in rushing yards (1,557), second in yards from scrimmage (1,918) and third in total touchdowns (17) despite missing the final game of the season due to his father’s death.
Cook’s answer on Wednesday reaffirmed his desire for team results over his own accolades. Meanwhile, his offseason motivation continues to drive his gains in the NFL.
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Dalvin Cook’s Offseason Routine
Cook detailed his offseason workout routine on Wednesday and has emphasized squatting more and building strength in his legs.
“I’ve been busting my tail all offseason trying to get ready,” Cook said, adding that with a 17-game season, the players that take care of themselves and stay in a routine will be at their best coming down the stretch.
“I’ve been setting myself up pretty good and putting good people around me to take care of my body,” Cook added.
Turning 26 in August, Cook still sees himself as a “kid” but has begun embracing his role as a leader — primarily by example.
“I like to have fun — we pros. We know what we need to get accomplished. Business is business,” Cook said. “I like to bring that kid outta everybody. I’m 25. I’m having fun on the field — that’s my happy place — and I’m gonna bring it out of everybody.