EAGAN, Minn. — Dalvin Cook traded in his chef's hat for a graduation cap Friday morning.
The Vikings running back announced via social media that he has graduated from Florida State with a degree in social science.
Cook was a student-athlete for the Seminoles from 2014-2016 and is the school's all-time rushing leader with 4,464 rushing yards.
Vikings.com spoke with Cook Friday afternoon about his milestone achievement.
"I didn't know how to feel. It was real," Cook said. "When I was going through college, I didn't know if I was going to finish because it was hard.
"But once I got to the NFL, I saw it from a different point of view," Cook added. "I took two classes here, two classes there … just chip away at it. That's what I did. When I put that cap and gown on, all the hard work paid off."
Cook said he took online classes the past few years to accomplish his goal. That meant late nights of studying … and some odd looks from classmates when he appeared on screen for presentations.
"I got a lot of [messages] that said, 'Is this you on the discussion board?!' I had to send videos in and it'd be me on screen," Cook said with a chuckle. "I had to check in with the teacher online, so I was getting a lot of Instagram DMs. People were like, 'Is this you in my class? Are you finishing school?' It was crazy."
Cook said Friday afternoon that he is grateful for the support from his teammates, friends and academic advisors over the years.
But "The Chef" lit up when describing what this moment means for him and his family. That includes his father, James, who passed away suddenly in December.
"He's smiling right now," Cook said with a smile of his own. "It's a big moment for us. Everything I ever did in life, he told me I deserved it.
"I never knew why, but he always told me to work hard," Cook added. "I worked hard, and I know he's smiling right now. I'm going to continue to make him proud."
Cook was unable to walk at Florida State's graduation ceremony but said he had no qualms about celebrating his achievement with his teammates at training camp.
"I'm at a special moment in my life where I want to be around these guys," Cook said. "I want to be around these guys in the building. I've been here five years now, and these guys are my family."