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Presser Points: Spielman on Cook's Ability to Help Offensive Line

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —There was plenty of buzz leading up to the draft that the Vikings could boost their offensive line in the second round.

After Minnesota went with Florida State running back Dalvin Cook with the 41st overall pick Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said Cook's talents can help improve the unit's results.

Cook, a two-time All-American, totaled 4,464 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns on 687 carries (6.5 yards per carry) in college. He added 79 receptions for 935 yards.

Spielman, who met with the media Friday night after the Vikings took Cook, said he believes the running back can help create offense in Minnesota.

"I think a running back also helps an offensive line, and when you can have great backs … I think Adrian (Peterson), we had some good offensive lines, but Adrian really [helped them]," Spielman said. "I remember when I was in Detroit watching Barry Sanders, just that caliber of running back and the success he had by his ability to set up blocks and to make quick cuts and to make things happen on their own. 

"And coaches talk about, 'Well, OK, we're going to get to this level,' but when you get to the second level, the safety is on you or the linebacker, you have the linebacker, which means you have to beat him 1-on-1," Spielman added. "So, I do believe that running backs can definitely make an offensive line better."

Here are three other topics that Spielman addressed during his session:

Making moves

The Vikings moved up seven spots from pick No. 48 to get Cook, and also sent a fourth-round pick (No. 128) to the Bengals.

Spielman revealed some trade details, including that he called Cincinnati with a few minutes left of its time on the clock.

According to Spielman, the Vikings felt like they had to make a move in order to bring Cook to Minnesota.

"I had a pretty good feeling that he wasn't going to last until our pick at 48," Spielman said. "So, that's why we came a little bit more aggressive to try to jump ahead of some of those teams that had the potential to take a running back."

An unexpected option

Spielman wasn't the only one surprised that Cook was available when the second round began.

The running back went in the first round in some mock drafts, and was one of the most productive running backs in the nation in 2016.

Spielman said Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu were shocked Cook was still at option to be picked.

"I know when I went in to talk to Pat this morning about this being a possibly, his mouth kind of dropped," Spielman said. "So did Kennedy's, because I went in and talked to him, as well. We're very fortunate, I think."

Room for improvement

Like most rookies, Cook will have room to improve going forward.

Spielman said Cook will need to enhance his pass protection while eliminating some fumbling issues, but Spielman added those are areas the Vikings will work with him on.

"When you look at all these college kids, a lot of it, that stuff as we met through the draft and we talked about all these kids and we talk about their negatives," Spielman said. "We just felt very strongly, it's not a matter of him not wanting to pass pro, he's definitely willing enough to pass pro. It's just a matter of cleaning up the technique. That stuff is coachable."

Spielman later added: "Kennedy, when he came in on his interview we talked about ball security and what he teaches, and he has a great history of running backs when he was down in Jacksonville. All the stuff from a negative standpoint are things that are definitely correctable with coaching. And, [we] have no doubt we will be able to correct those."

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