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Dalvin Cook's Versatility Stands Out in Professional Debut

Dalvin Cook had modest numbers in his NFL preseason debut, tallying 43 total yards on nine offensive touches.

But the second-round pick from Florida State still enjoyed Thursday's 17-10 win over Buffalo in the Vikings preseason opener, if only to take in the sights and sounds of his first professional action.

"I told myself I was going to go out there and have fun and help my team win the football game," Cook said. "It was definitely fun getting that first carry and getting that out of the way.

"Once you get that out of the way, you can really get going and playing football," Cook added.

Cook played the first four series on offense, rushing five times for 13 yards with a long run of six yards.

Although it was a small sample size, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer liked what he saw from the rookie.

"I thought it was good," Zimmer said of Cook's debut. "He did some good things. I thought he ran behind his pads well for the first time out."

Cook's biggest impression came through the air. He caught four passes for 30 yards. He hauled in a screen pass that went for nine yards, but the ball was moved back after a holding penalty on the play.

Cook said he prides himself on being a well-rounded player and not just running the ball.

"It's something that I rely on in my game," Cook said. "Just being versatile, going out there catching balls.

"They split me out wide, released me out of the backfield … whatever it is, I'll (do it to) help my team win games," Cook added. "That's what they brought me in for, I have to utilize my talent."

Vikings rookie wide receiver Rodney Adams, who caught a touchdown Thursday, was impressed by Cook's pass-catching ability.

"Dalvin Cook is a really good receiver out of the backfield," Adams said. "He can do it all. He's an all-purpose back."

The Vikings had 49 total yards of offense when Cook was in the game, but the running back noted there was some rust in the preseason opener.

"As each week goes, we're going to get better," Cook said. "We just can't take steps backwards, we just have to keep getting better and better.

"We have a confident group and a confident running scheme," Cook added. "We're going to keep attacking the defense and do what we do." 

Cook was the 41st overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Florida State.

He holds Florida State's single-season rushing record and broke Warrick Dunn's career rushing record with the Seminoles. The two-time All-American totaled 4,464 yards and 46 touchdowns on 687 carries (6.5 yards per carry) and added 79 receptions for 935 yards and two scores in his college career.

Now that Cook is in the NFL, Zimmer said the running back is expected to make progressions each week.

"I'm sure he feels like he could have done more," Zimmer said. "And he will in the future."

But for Cook, Thursday was a memorable night because his professional debut came on his 22nd birthday.

The Florida native was just happy to celebrate with a victory.

"No doubt, we got a W," Cook said. "We won, and that's the most important part. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about — winning. We got a 'W,' and that's the best birthday gift I could have had right there."

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Bills at new Era Field in Buffalo, New York for the first game of the preseason.

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