*EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. — *Dalvin Cook stood on the sideline Sunday night in Philadelphia and watched the Vikings season come to an end in the NFC Championship.
The scenario only added to the Vikings running back’s motivation as he continues to rehab a torn ACL injury suffered in Week 4 against the Lions.
“I’ve got to get back healthy and get back on the field and be reliable on the field,” Cook said Monday in the Vikings locker room. “That’s just staying healthy, and that’s the No. 1 goal for this offseason, to get healthy and stay healthy for the rest of the season.
“I could say I could have helped a lot, but that’s why you have to be healthy,” Cook later added. “That’s the No. 1 key this offseason and to get bigger, faster and stronger.”
The second-round pick from the 2017 NFL Draft racked up 354 rushing yards and two touchdowns in three-plus games before being injured on Oct. 1 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Cook, who has been hard at work rehabbing since then, gave an update on his progress.
“I’m back jogging,” Cook said. “That was the No. 1 goal — to get back on my feet and get jogging. That’s where I’m at right now in my rehab, and I’m just going from there.”
The former Florida State standout said he hadn’t consulted with Vikings Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman on a timetable for his rehab, but noted that he plans on staying around the Twin Cities before the offseason program starts up again this spring.
“We’re still setting a plan up,” Cook said. “We just started the offseason, so we’ll get an offseason plan set up. We’ll go from there.”
“I’m going to set it up with Sug’ and those guys … what’s going to go on and how we’re going to do things,” Cook added. “They’ve been doing a great job, so I don’t mind staying here and letting those guys take care of me.”
Cook said his biggest takeaway from veteran teammates during his rookie season was how to approach practice and be a professional.
And even though he missed the majority of Minnesota’s successful season, Cook said he believes the future if bright for the Vikings.
“That was just the starting point of something good for this organization,” Cook said. “We’re going to bring in a rookie class that’s going to be great, too. That’s going to be an addition to the team.
“This team has a high ceiling, and it’s going as high as we want it to go,” Cook added. “This offseason is going to determine everything, how we come back and rebound from the loss and how we’re going to do things around here. This offseason is going to be key.”
Morgan reflects on sophomore season
David Morgan played 63 total offensive snaps as a rookie in 2016 as he focused on getting acclimated to the rigors of the NFL.
The Vikings tight end saw a boom in playing time in his second season, as he was on the field for 393 offensive snaps.
Morgan, who had 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, had four games in which he played 40 snaps or more.
“I think, just overall, it was kind of good to get involved. I don’t think that there’s anything that can translate into the NFL like getting reps in games,” Morgan said Monday. “That stuff is invaluable and can’t be done in practice. In OTAs and stuff like that, it’s hard to match that intensity and the speed of that.
“Just getting involved and getting those reps under my belt, I felt like it definitely contributed to my growth a lot just understanding the game more and getting acclimated to the game,” Morgan added. “This year I just felt so much more comfortable and confident, just having a year under my belt and having that knowledge of the game.”
Morgan was a key part of Minnesota’s running game as he blocked for an attack that finished seventh in the NFL at 122.3 yards per game.
McDermott expects to return at ‘100 percent’
Kevin McDermott also missed Minnesota’s playoff run after suffering a shoulder injury in a Week 16 road win at Green Bay.
The Vikings long snapper said Monday that he expects to be good to go for Organized Team Activities in a few months.
“My surgery was a success. My goal is to be back snapping when OTAs start,” McDermott said. “From there, just getting back in the swing of things like it’s a normal start to a season.
“I’ll be here all offseason rehabbing with the training staff,” McDermott added. “They are the best in the business, so I have no worried about being able to come back and be 100 percent.”
McDermott has been with the Vikings since the 2015 season.