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Dalvin Cook Focused on Starting Faster

Posted Sep 21, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Dalvin Cook wants to see the Vikings offense pick up speed.

After two weeks, the rookie currently ranks third in the NFL with 191 rushing yards. The breakdown of when those yards have been gained in the first two games shows that Cook has gained momentum in second halves.

According to situational stats on NFL.com, Cook has averaged 0.7 yards per carry in the first quarter, 2.9 yards in the second quarter, 7.5 yards in the third quarter and an impressive 9.1 yards per carry in the fourth quarter of his first two regular-season games.

It’s a trend he wants to level out.

“It’s just all about getting comfortable,” Cook told Twin Cities media members Thursday. “We go through it every day in practice, we see looks every day in practice, what the defense will offer us. Some teams go out there and they’ll mix it up on you, but it’s just all about getting comfortable. For me, I just need to start [faster].

“Because you know, starting in the third quarter can’t help my team,” Cook added. “So I have to start faster in the first quarter, and that’s one of the things I’m working on.”

The running back said it’s not solely on the offensive line or solely on him but that the entire offense is striving to find its rhythm quicker.

“It’s not just one particular person or one particular group,” Cook said. “We all just have to start faster. That’s something that we’re working on as a whole. Starting faster, going out there and taking advantage of the plays that [are] given to us.”

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has, in a couple of instances this season, mentioned that he wants to be an aggressive team, and it’s a concept Cook buys into. He said he will not be deterred by a defense looking to shut him down early.

“If the scouting report [plans for me], we’re still going to be aggressive in the play calling,” Cook said. “We’re still going to establish ourselves by running the football and doing what we do. … And let the quarterback sling it around and let them see we make plays. That’s our offense.

“It just shows you the type of head coach we have. He believes in his players, and we believe in him,” Cook later said of Zimmer. “So for him to do that, we’re going to give it our all and a hundred percent. Whatever he calls, we’re going to go out there and try to execute it to our best.”

As the Vikings prep to host Tampa Bay on Sunday, Cook has some familiarity with the Bucs signal caller.

Cook played his freshman season at Florida State with Jameis Winston and said the quarterback instills confidence in his teammates.

“He carries himself like a leader, which he is. And he’s a good football player,” Cook said. “At Florida State, we’ve got a pull-read option, which is the read option play. And Jameis would hand you the ball and try to get out and block for you. So it just shows you the type of competitor he is. He just wants to go out there and help his team win.”

The Vikings know the types of challenges they face against Tampa Bay, but they also are focused on making sure they don’t beat themselves.

After Minnesota was flagged 11 times for 131 yards at Pittsburgh, Cook said another focus for Week 3 is eliminating penalties.

“Like every other week, we just have to keep continuing to get better,” Cook said. “We shot ourselves in the foot with getting a lot of penalties, and that put us behind the 8 ball early. So we just have to clean those up.”