MINNEAPOLIS - Dalvin Cook is going to miss Gary Kubiak, and he’s still a little salty about not getting voted All-Pro.
Cook spoke with reporters Wednesday for the first time since missing the regular season finale against the Detroit Lions after his father’s unexpected death. Cook was selected the winner of the annual Korey String Media Good Guy Award, chosen by the Minnesota chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association of America.
He best exemplified this past season professionalism, and regularly made himself available throughout the 2020 season at the request of media members.
"It just means a lot to me because getting up there in front of you guys, you could be one way then you could be another way, but I just try to be me. That’s just who I am," Cook said.
Cook just finished his fourth NFL season, and it was the best of his career despite missing one game due to a groin injury and another due to his father’s death. Cook finished second in the NFL with 1,557 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. He led the NFL with 1,918 yards from scrimmage.
He also earned his second straight Pro Bowl selection in 2020, and plans to participate in virtual activities this week. Days before the regular season started, Cook signed a 5-year, $63 million to cement his long-term future in Minnesota.
He was, however, snubbed from being selected All-Pro. He didn’t even receive a vote, with the honors going to Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara.
Cook said it will serve as a motivator for the 2021 season.
"I’m not really big on things like that, but when you go to look at the facts of the situation, everything is there to be proven. I don’t know how I didn’t make the list," Cook said.
He’ll also be without Gary Kubiak next season. Kubiak announced his retirement from the NFL last week after more than three decades in football, and the last two seasons with the Vikings.
With Kubiak running the offense this season, the Vikings finished No. 4 in total offense, Cook finished second in rushing and Kirk Cousins finished with a career-high 35 touchdown passes.
"He just always shot us straight, that’s what I love in a coach. He’s just one of those coaches that you’re going to admire forever," Cook said of Kubiak. "The memories we have of those two years, it felt like five years. To see him go, it’s tough."
So what’s next for Cook? He just wants to keep getting better, and says the sky is the limit for himself. He was going to take two weeks off after the season to recover, but said he couldn’t help himself. He’s been doing daily workouts in his gym.
He plans to sit down with his trainer next week, both to address 2021 goals and get himself mentally and physically ready for what’s to come next season. He’s clearly motivated to be the best running back in the NFL, and carry on his father’s legacy.
"I think situations like this builds character, and always just shows who a man really is. My dad lived a great life, so I’ve got to continue to live that legacy and carry his name," Cook said. "Do all those things and continue to work hard. Things have been tough, but it gets better."