Vikings RB Dalvin Cook leads by example, despite unclear role in new system

Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 10:11 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2022 at 10:12 PM CDT
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EAGAN, Minn. (KEYC) - The Minnesota Vikings headquarters were flooded with fans on Saturday as they finally got a closer look inside Vikings Training Camp.

“I just remember times when I was younger, going to training camp practices and being in the bleachers or right up on the ropes and seeing some of my idols 5-10 feet away working on their craft,” head coach of the Minnesota Vikings Kevin O’Connell said.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is one of the premiere players fans locked their eyes on — once they adjusted to his new number four and not 33.

Minnesota’s new leadership quickly saw for themselves that Cook is one of the hardest working backs in the NFL and despite question marks surrounding how he’ll fit in the new system, O’Connell was complementary of the six-year veteran.

“He’s one of our best example setters of how to be a football player, how to lead from the front. You guys will see it today. There will be a play where maybe the ball goes to the complete opposite side of the field and you’ll see number-four sprinting across the field to finish without his coach having to say anything. Whether he touches the football or not, it does not matter and he does in snap in and snap out,” said O’Connell.

In the 13 games last season, Cook owned 74 percent of the team’s total rushing attempts. Aside from that, Alexander Mattison saw more carries in the four games Cook missed.

“That’s something that was built into Dalvin Cook’s DNA, Alexander Mattison’s DNA when we got here. It wasn’t necessarily a big emphasis from us. We want guys to finish, even if they get held up a bit in a pile, make sure they’re finishing through. Generally, we would say 20-25 yards at place I’ve been, but that’s just in their DNA already,” Minnesota offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said.

The first four days of camp are the ramp-up period, preparing for what will be a shift come Monday when the Vikings throw on the pads for the first time.

“Pads on and real game experience is always going to be a better indicator, but we feel really good with where we’re at and I feel like we are going to have some tough decisions at the end here when it comes down to it, because of the talent and depth we have with that group,” added Phillips.

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