Dalvin Cook: Start Believing
Heading into the first week of preseason, all eyes were on the Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook. Most fans, myself included, were delighted when the Vikings traded up in the second round to select the Florida State star and the hype surrounding him has only increased as he continued to steal the show during training camp.
Prior to Cook taking his first snap in Purple and Gold, most observers had already penciled him in at the top of Minnesota’s depth chart despite the addition of Latavius Murray. Following Cook’s preseason debut, Murray may struggle to get significant snaps this season as he continues to recover from ankle surgery.
Cook played 18 snaps across 4 series against the Bills and when he was on the field with the Vikings offensive starters the former Seminole looked mighty impressive. Cook made the most of the little space the offensive line (more on them later) gave him, carrying the ball for 12 yards across his first 3 carries.
It has been a while since the Minnesota Vikings had a legitimate threat catching the ball out of the backfield but they may have found one in Cook who looked even more exciting when he was running routes. Catching 4 passes for 30 yards (as well as a having a 9 yard gain wiped out by a holding penalty), Cook displayed solid hands and great burst once the ball was secure.
Cook needs to work on his pass protection to be the every down back Vikings fan crave. He was partially to blame for Sam Bradford getting sacked midway through the first quarter after he was brushed aside very easily by Jerry Hughes. The potential is there, as I did see him pick up and prevent a blitz up the middle on a later series, he just needs to work on his consistency.
Overall Cook had an impressive debut and I wasn’t the only one who thought so;
"“Cook finished with 43 yards from scrimmage in limited work, showing some power and looking comfortable in the passing game as a receiver and pass protector.”"
As a biased observer it can be easy to get caught up in a training camp hype storm regarding a new player but after his first performance Cook is starting back it up. You can check out every play from Cook’s first game in purple and gold here, just try not to get to excited.