﹛﹛”That’s probably me running around, just talking BS, man. Just me running around doing that,” he laughed. “That’s what I do. I like to have fun. We’re going to get our work done, we’re pros, we know what we need to get accomplished. Business is business. But I like to bring that kid out of everybody. I’m still a kid. I’m 25 and having fun on the field. That’s my happy place. I’m going to bring that out of everybody.”
﹛﹛Added Kubiak: “We’re going to manage [the reps], but you also want to get him plenty of work because 每 like all players 每 they need repetition to improve. So we’ll definitely monitor them and make sure come the season that he’s hitting his stride then, as opposed to right now during OTAs.”
﹛﹛Cook appreciates another year under Polamalu, and although his offensive coordinator has changed, the last name 每 and much of the system 每 has not.
﹛﹛”I still have a Kubiak as my coordinator,” quipped Cook of Klint Kubiak stepping into the role previously held by his father Gary. “When you get a new coordinator, the language changes, plays change, you get a new system. I think we know our identity as an offense, and things haven’t changed as much.
﹛﹛”You get different [terminology], you get different calls now and then,” Cook continued. “Klint is a smart coach, and last year it was fun being around him. He’s one of those coaches that is fun to be around. He’s going to bring that competitive side out of you. Having him as an offensive coordinator, I know it’s going to be a fun year. Like I said, the only thing that’s changed is some of our wording, but identity as an offense, I think we know who we are.”
﹛﹛The Vikings are tied for the second-youngest team in the NFL, and Cook is taking responsibility upon himself not only for game day but also as a locker room leader.
﹛﹛He aims to be an even better teammate this season 每 something that seems tough to do for a guy who’s already so well-respected by his peers.
﹛﹛”We have a young team, and me stepping up and being who Dalvin Cook is and not stepping outside of the box and being nobody else [is important],” Cook said. “Helping guys get better. Helping guys get comfortable. I think that’s going to be the best way this team goes where we want it to go. That’s just us getting to know each other, us jelling, us [veterans] leading the other guys.
﹛﹛”That’s where I have to excel 每 as a leader. The on-field stuff is going to take care of itself,” Cook added. “I train hard, I work hard, I put the right stuff in my body and things like that. That’s going to take care of itself; but being that leader for this team, that’s going to be important for us this year.”
﹛﹛Being physically and mentally prepared feels even more crucial ahead of a season featuring 17 regular-season games.
﹛﹛And while that extra game certainly puts a 2,000-yard season more within reach, Cook emphasized that individual marks aren’t his main objective.
﹛﹛”I want to make the playoffs. That’s my goal,” Cook said. “I’ve never really set a goal ever since I got to Minnesota. My main goal was just go out there and be Dalvin Cook, and I think everything will take care of itself. I never really set a goal for X-number of yards and ‘This is what I want.’ I always say work hard and when the season comes around, just be who I am and let it go. That’s what I do.”