Cook’s presence in backfield makes major impact on Vikings

Published 11:39 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

EAGAN, Minn. — Having missing 19 of his first 34 games in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings because of injuries, Dalvin Cook has barely scratched the surface of the impact he can make carrying the ball, and occasionally catching it.

After Cook returned from a hamstring problem that kept him out of five games last season, quarterback Kirk Cousins even good-naturedly nicknamed him the “White Tiger” in reference to the exotic animal zoo-goers often flock to see.

This year, Cook and the Vikings are counting on his regular presence. The opener sure was a strong start, with 21 attempts for 111 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

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“We need the ‘White Tiger’ to be there for 16 games, right? He’s been special when he’s had the football in his hands, and we’ve got to have him out there,” Cousins said. “So it’ll be key.”

For all the salary cap space the Vikings have committed to Cousins and the standout wide receiver duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, their third-year running back is just as indispensable for this offense.

“I don’t get into being the best running back in the league. I just want to be the best version of me,” Cook said, “and if I be the best version of me for my team, I think we could have something going here.”