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Dalvin Cook Learning from Locker Neighbor Terence Newman

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –There's a 17-year gap between two lockers in the Vikings locker room.

Rookie running back Dalvin Cook is grateful for his nearby neighbor, Trae Waynes.

In a podium session following Wednesday's Organized Team Activity practice, Cook told Twin Cities media members that he and Newman have quickly connected over the past few weeks.

"He has conversations with me every day, just about ball, about everything," Cook said. "He's been in the league 15 years now."

Newman is the NFL's second-oldest active defensive player, but Cook said you'd never know that by watching the way he works out and practices.

"I pass by the weight room, and I see him squatting and lifting like he's still 25 or something like that," said Cook with a laugh.

Cook is the third-youngest player on Minnesota's current roster and one of six 21-year-olds. He will turn 22 on Aug. 10, the day the Vikings open their preseason slate against the Bills in Buffalo.

Newman, who will turn 39 in September, doesn't hesitate to mentor younger players and share his experiences with them. It's a gesture that Cook is careful not to take for granted, taking Newman's advice to heart.

"He says to just have fun," Cook said. "He just remembers when he came into the league. 'Just have fun with it, enjoy every day, and it's going to go by fast.' "

According to Cook, Newman isn't the only one to lend a helping hand. The second-round draft pick said a number of his older teammates have helped smooth his transition to the pros, both on and off the field.

When asked if he's been given a hard time as a new kid on the block, Cook just smiled and shook his head.

"I can really say this – the vets, they really embrace the rookies," Cook said. "They really embrace the rookies here and do a good job of just making us feel comfortable."

In the five OTA practices now under his belt, Cook has kept in mind the counsel he's received from Newman and other veterans. 

"It's definitely a change of speed, once you come from rookie minicamp and then get put in with the vets," Cook said. "These guys have been doing it for a while.

"[I'm learning] how to be a pro, learning how to be a better teammate and a player, also," Cook added. "I'm just having fun and embracing everything from the vets."

Count tight end Kyle Rudolph, preparing for his seventh season, is among the older Vikings who have been impressed by the fellow second-round pick.

"He's really fun to watch. You can tell why he had so much success at Florida State," Rudolph said. "He's a special runner and a guy who has great vision and always seems to make the right cut."

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur said Cook has shown continual improvements in his first month in pro football.

"He's getting better. You see him do things better each practice, and I think that's what you're looking for this time of year," Shurmur said. "We're into the second week of OTAs, we've got one more day this week, one more week of OTAs and then minicamp. And you just want to see steady improvement on the things that we're going to ask him to do in the fall."

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