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Lunchbreak: ‘Just as Explosive’ Cook Ranked in Jones-Drew’s Top 10

Dalvin Cook has been tabbed as the potential Comeback Player of the Year and a running back who could lead the NFL in rushing in 2018.

You can also add more praise to the Vikings running back as he enters his second season in the NFL.

Former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew recently released his list of the top running backs across the league and had Cook penciled in the ninth spot as Week 1 looms on the horizon.

Jones-Drew wrote:

Cook was leading the league in rushing yards last season before his rookie campaign ended with a major knee injury. After watching him in training camp, he looks just as explosive with a better understanding of the offense. Expect big things from Minnesota's young star.

Cook ran for 354 yards and two touchdowns before suffering a torn ACL in Week 4 against the Lions.

He played four total snaps in the preseason, gaining a yard and picking up a first down on two carries.

Cook talked to Twin Cities media members on Wednesday about his return to action in the regular season.

“You know, the knee thing, I’ve got it locked away,” Cook said. “I think now it’s just time for me to hone in on what we’re doing as an offense. My knee is fine, it’s ready to go, I’m ready to play.

“Those two carries were a plus, but I’ve been practicing the whole time, getting reps, going full speed … so just ready to get out there and ready to play,” Cook added. “That’s it at this point.”

Iloka honors Newman with No. 23

George Iloka has a new number to go along with his new team.

And he’s honoring an old friend in the process.

The Vikings safety, who signed with the Vikings on Aug. 22, recently switched to his number to 23 after Terence Newman retired to become the nickel/defensive backs coach on the Vikings staff.

Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press chatted with Iloka about the number change.

Iloka said Wednesday he “grew up liking 23” because he was a big fan of Michael Jordan and that “23 in any sport is good.” But he primarily wanted the number as a tribute to Newman, his teammate with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2012-14.

“I just asked for it, and they obliged,” Iloka said. “T-New’s my guy. I’ve always liked how he’s carried himself as a pro, as a vet, and I admire his career, so what better number to have than 23?”

Tomasson also wrote that Iloka could be used in a variety of different ways, including potentially in the slot as the nickel cornerback.

Tomasson wrote:

In addition to [Mackesnie] Alexander or [Mike] Hughes potentially coming in on pass situations, Iloka said he is a candidate to play the nickel. The Vikings have been working in practice on situations in which Iloka joins starting safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo on the field.

“I can play anything they ask me to play,” Iloka said. “I’m pretty versatile.”

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