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NOTEBOOK: Cook 'Hyped' for 1st Carry in a 2018 Game

EAGAN, Minn. — Dalvin Cook took the ball — and a pop from Eric Kendricks in the backfield.

The running back wasn't tackled by the linebacker at Friday's practice, but he was reminded that he's getting closer to game action and live defenders.

In just eight days, the Vikings are scheduled to visit the Denver Broncos for their first preseason game of 2018.

Cook, who started the Vikings 2017 preseason opener, may or may not participate in the Mile High City, but Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he's clear to do so.

"I'll probably see him in the preseason," Zimmer said. "It will depend on the situation and where we're at and things like that. We've banged him pretty good the last few days, so he'll get some reps."

Cook has gone through dazzling in his first three-plus regular-season games to an agonizing ACL tear to putting in the work that has him back on the field.

Asked if he'll be nervous for his first carry in a game, Cook said, "I am going to be hyped, I know that I'll tell you that.

"You are always going to be nervous before a game. If anybody tells you different, it's a lie. You are going to be nervous, little jitters," he added. "Once you get it out of the way, it's time to go play some football. That is going to be the thing with me. Once I get that out of the way, it's time to play football. A little nervousness is going to be there."

Defensive end Everson Griffen said Cook has impressed during camp.

"Very fortunate, I have never had that surgery, and I don't know what he has been through and that situation, but he is looking good, looking explosive, cuts are looking crisp," Griffen said. "He is downhill running, getting the ball."

Griffen made it a point to add that Latavius Murray "is looking good, looking quicker, looking faster."

"I feel like we just have to keep on doing what we are doing each and every day," Griffen said. "Like Coach Zimmer always says, 'Iron sharpens iron,' and we have to go out there and compete and get better, just hold each other accountable, I think that is the biggest thing. Once you start holding each other accountable, that is where the success happens."

Griffen still refining

Even after racking up a career-best 13 sacks, his third consecutive Pro Bowl and first placement on the All-Pro Second Team, Griffen said he is still working on details as he prepares for his fifth season as a starter and ninth in the NFL.

"I think I am still developing. There is always more room for improvement," Griffen said. "You can never gain too much mastery or too much craft. I am always trying to improve on my craft and my mastery."

No play is safe around @harrismith22. #VikingsCamp #Skol

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Play of the Day

All-Pro safety Harrison Smith showed part of his skill set on Friday during a drill along the goal line.

Smith was tasked with guarding Latavius Murray in man-to-man, and the safety wasn't fooled by a fake handoff. Instead he followed Murray to the front corner of the end zone and broke up a pass from Kirk Cousins to Murray.

Legends in the crowd

Defensive tackles Keith Millard and Henry Thomas — two of the 50 Greatest Vikings — attended Verizon Vikings Training Camp and signed autographs for fans after practice.

They weren't the only Vikings Legends in attendance. Fellow 50 Greatest member, "Two-Minute" Tommy Kramer also was watching as the current squad went through three two-minute drills near the end of practice. No miracles occurred for the first-, second- or third-team offenses.

Punter Greg Coleman and defensive lineman Willie Howard also were at Friday's session.