The Vikings traded up in round two to address the need that arose from the departure of Adrian Peterson, rolling the dice on Dalvin Cook. And while the dice won’t stop careening on the felt for several more months if not longer, there’s early reason to hope for a good outcome.
“He showed acceleration, good feet, good vision, a lot of the same things we saw on tape,” coach Mike Zimmer said after practice regarding Cook, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “[He’s] a good kid; seems smart in the blitz pickup drill they had down there.”
Zimmer added that it’s too early to speculate as to whether Cook or free-agent acquisition Latavius Murray will win the starting job, and that seems to be fine with the rookie.
“That’s not my ultimate goal,’’ Cook said. “My ultimate goal is to find my role, just come in and contribute to the team anywhere possible and help the team win.’’
The fact that ankle surgery will keep Murray from doing anything until training camp could give Cook an edge.
And while some fans worry about off-field concerns that apparently prompted Cook to slide out of round one, Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman explained during a Friday visit to PFT Live that they did their homework both as to the player and as to the person.
“There’s no question about what he is as a playmaker on the field,” Spielman said. “There’s no question that he’s a threat both in the running game and in the passing game. And we felt he was one of the best running backs or offensive weapons that can put points on the board. And the one thing that we definitely need to improve on, and Coach Zimmer made that point of emphasis, is we need to score points. I think we have a very good defense, but we looked at a stat where if we scored plus-20 points in a game, we have a pretty good winning record.”
For Cook to help in that regard, he’ll need to be available. The Vikings believe that off-field issues won’t keep that from happening.
“We did our due diligence just like everybody else did on the off-field concerns,” Spielman said. “The thing we did was when we talked to him earlier in the process, he gave us the answers. We had those answers checked out from all of our resources that we use outside the building. And then I spoke with him for about 45 minutes on Friday once he cleared through the first round and his answers stayed consistent throughout the process.”
So between Cook and Murray and Jerick McKinnon, maybe that Vikings won’t miss Adrian Peterson all that much. An improved offensive line, of course, could help in that regard, dramatically.