Dalvin Cook was already good at football, but it wasn’t the stuff on the field that made him slip to the second round of the draft.
So that stuff’s what he’s working on now, as he tries to prove to the Vikings they did the right thing by drafting him when others were unwilling to.
The Florida State running back with a bit of a checkered past said he’s focused on becoming better in all areas now that he’s in Minnesota.
“You’ve always got to put that stuff behind you,” Cook told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “It can be a learning tool for a lot of people. I go back home and I talk to some of the people in the neighborhood, I just try to get them to learn from my situation and just build from that. And that’s what I’m doing – building as a man, becoming a better person, with better people in the locker room and just being around the vets and learning how to be a pro.”
Even when Cook wasn’t in trouble himself at Florida State, trouble was always in his vicinity. There was some property destruction with a BB gun that ended with a pre-trial intervention, a citation for mistreating dogs (which was resolved with a fine), and charges of hitting a woman outside a bar, though he was later acquitted. He was also named as an associate in an assault case in which two men allegedly brandished a gun outside his apartment.
That was enough to make the Vikings ask who he’d bring with him to Minnesota, and they were encouraged when he said he was coming alone, focused on his new job.
“I think he has probably woken up a little bit about how important football is,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said, “and I truly believe that he is on a mission coming up here and is going to be a great football player for us.”
Cook drew praise from his college coaches for his dedication to the program, and his tape alone justified giving him the chance to prove himself. But the Vikings are encouraged by the things he’s leaving behind, as he tries to build a pro career on a team looking for exactly the kind of runner he’s been.