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3 Observations: Cook Flashes Speed, Athleticism with 1st-Team Offense

MANKATO, Minn. —The Vikings held their penultimate practice of Verizon Vikings Training Camp on Monday, practicing after a day off for approximately two hours.

Minnesota was in full pads on the fields on Minnesota State University, Mankato as fans filled the stands.

The Vikings are scheduled to have a walk-through Monday from 10:30-11:30 a.m., followed by their final practice from 2:45-5:10 p.m.

Here are three observations from Monday's practice:

1. Let's get Cookin'

On a day the Vikings had all three main running backs on the practice field for the first time in camp, it was a rookie who stole the show.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook took most of the first-team reps and showed his versatility by doing a little bit of everything.

Cook received the bulk of the work in team drills and fired up the crowd by breaking off what would have been a long run against a defense that was in the nickel package.

The 41st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft also fared well in a pass protection and showed his athleticism by taking a screen pass for a nice gain. Cook also would have had a sizeable run on a draw play during team drills.

2. Bradford, Diggs flourish yet again

Minnesota's offense got the better of the defense during a 2-minute drill Monday, as quarterback Sam Bradford and wide receiver Stefon Diggs connected for the game-winning score.

With the offense needing a touchdown, Bradford delivered by lofting a 6-yard fade to Diggs near the right sideline of the end zone. Diggs leapt over cornerback Trae Waynes and kept both feet in bounds before celebrating.

The drive started with the Vikings in possession of the ball with a little over a minute left at the opponent's 38-yard line.

Bradford moved the chains by firing a dart at the sideline to wide receiver Adam Thielen on third-and-12 for a 17-yard gain.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he was impressed with the entire sequence from his offense.

"Diggs runs good routes and catches the ball good," Zimmer said. "But Bradford can put the ball on the money (and) in places where (wide receivers) can make catches.

"He did that on the sideline on third-and-12 today to Thielen," Zimmer added. "That's why, if you give this guy time, he's got a chance to be good." 

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke led the second-team offense on the field but the comeback was thwarted when linebacker Edmond Robinson picked off Heinicke's first pass attempt.

3. Peeking at the punters

The punting battle between Ryan Quigley and Taylor Symmank won't be decided anytime soon, but the first preseason game Thursday should give coaches an idea where each one stands. 

The duo also had their moment in the sun Monday, as they each worked on situational punting during a special teams session. 

Symmank drew cheers from the crowd when he uncorked a booming punt from his own end zone that traveled roughly 60 yards. 

He then excelled at pinning the opposition deep. With the ball at the opponent's 45-yard line, Symmank dropped a pair of punts inside the 5-yard line. Rodney Adams and Sam Brown were the gunners and each caught a punt to down the ball and avoid a touchback.

Quigley had a nice directional punt out of bounds during a portion of punts from his own 18-yard line. The opponent would have started at its own 38-yard line.

Quigley should have had one punt downed inside the 5-yard line on a kick near midfield but a pair of gunners allowed the ball to roll into the end zone.

View images from the Verizon Vikings Training Camp practice on Monday, August 7.

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