EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) - In his first year in the NFL, Dalvin Cook had the game he loves cruelly taken away from him.
It was a devastating knee injury in week four that cost him the rest of his rookie season, but after a long rehab stint, Cook feels like a new man.
“It’s a brand new knee,” he said Thursday. “It’s my knee. I put the work in, put the time in, so I fully trust it, man. It’s full go.”
While some may worry that he’ll lose some burst after suffering a torn ACL, Cook feels the exact opposite. He says he feels even stronger than before and he’s fully confident that he can be the same player he was before getting hurt.
“This process is all about milestones and stacking up the days and just putting it all together so you know you can lead up to week one. But once you put pads on, that’s going to be another milestone for me, so I can’t wait until we put them on.”
He added, “To go out there and get a chance at the game again is just God and I thank him for that and I’m going to give it all I got.”
Vikings Tight-end Tyler Conklin said, “Hell of a running back. I watched him play last year and just what he did in the short amount of time that he had was unreal. He’s going to be one of the top running backs in the NFL so to do that in his rookie year with half a season, whatever he played, was unreal and I know the whole organization is super excited to have him back.”
Conklin went on to applaud his teammates' ability to block, which is a key, but often underappreciated skill for running backs.
“When you see a young player that understands protections the way he does at an early age, I think that’s really unique and obviously he has the pass-catching ability and the running ability that we’ve all seen but obviously a lot of times, when you play that position, the running back protection I think sometimes gets overlooked.”