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Minnesota Vikings

How did Dalvin Cook fare in Vikings preseason opener?

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, left, takes a hand off from quarterback Sam Bradford, right, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Rich Barnes)
AP Photo/Rich Barnes

The Minnesota Vikings opened up their preseason on Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills, and while the fact that they won the game 17-10 was nice, that certainly wasn’t what the focal point of the game was. From the moment that Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook sat down on the sidelines to call it a night, the internet immediately reacted to his night. For Cook, though, it was about much more than just the numbers in a completely meaningless preseason game. It was about getting that first NFL carry under his belt.

Cook’s stat line wasn’t superb in terms of rushing, as he had five carries for 13 yards on four offensive series for the Vikings. What really stood out for Cook was the fact that he’s going to be able to impact games through the passing game in a huge way during the 2017 season, and that was wildly apparent on Thursday.

The former Florida State Seminoles star caught four passes for 30 yards and showed off his dual-threat ability for his new team. While it remains unknown how the Vikings will deploy their running backs, specifically free-agent acquisition Latavius Murray and Cook, one thing that’s certain is that Cook’s playmaking ability is going to be a big factor this season.

As Cook told Eric Smith of the team’s official website, he’s more than happy to rely on his ability to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield.

“It’s something that I rely on in my game,” Cook said. “Just being versatile, going out there catching balls.

“They split me out wide, released me out of the backfield … whatever it is, I’ll (do it to) help my team win games. That’s what they brought me in for; I have to utilize my talent.”

As stated above, Cook’s stats aren’t going to be something to rave about from the preseason opener, but what he said after the game is worth noting. The main focus of what the rookie had to say was how important it was for his team to get the win. He was just thrilled that the Vikings left Buffalo with a victory on Thursday night.

“No doubt, we got a W,” Cook said. “We won, and that’s the most important part. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about — winning. We got a ‘W,’ and that’s the best birthday gift I could have had right there.”

And yes, it was Cook’s birthday. Seems like making your NFL debut in a productive fashion while helping your new team win is a pretty good way to celebrate.

It may still be very, very early, but it’s hard to say that the Vikings didn’t get a steal by landing Cook in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. While every team opted to let him slide, the Vikings pounced on their opportunity to land the playmaker. At the very least, if Game 1 is any indication, Cook is a player with huge upside and a player who was more than worth using a second-round draft pick on.

With that first game now under Cook’s belt, Vikings fans will be anxiously waiting to see how he looks next week when the Vikings take on the Seattle Seahawks, and then the week after when they face the San Francisco 49ers.

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