EAGAN, Minn. – Dalvin Cook watched the 2017 postseason from the sideline, and he intends to have a different vantage point this time around.
The Vikings running back spoke to Twin Cities media members on Monday afternoon after missing Minnesota's last two regular-season games due to injury.
"Two weeks of rest and got treatment … I've been putting the time in, and I feel good," Cook said.
"It's a long season. You go through a lot, your body takes a lot," he added. "I got some rest, and I'm ready to go."
Cook plans to be on the field Sunday in New Orleans when the Vikings (No. 6 seed) take on the Saints (No. 3 seed) in the Wild Card round.
And although Minnesota is coming off back-to-back losses (the Vikings mainly played reserves in Week 17), Cook isn't too concerned about a lack of momentum.
"We've just got to continue to keep growing and lock in on the game plan and practice extra hard this week," Cook said. "We can't go into this week of preparation not knowing the little things, not doing the little things.
"The hype is going to be there," he later continued. "We're going to be in the [Superdome], it's going to hyped, their fans are going to be ready to go, and we just have to control our emotions and know what we're here for – and that's to win the football game. That's what we've got to do."
Two years ago, the Vikings finished 13-3 and earned a first-round bye. Cook, who was rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in Week 4, watched his teammates defeat the Saints via the Minneapolis Miracle in the Divisional round and advance to the NFC Championship.
He hasn't forgotten those feelings.
"It was a tough scenario, tough situation. A rookie in the league, I wanted to play," Cook said. "It was tough watching. [But] now I'm here, and now it's time to win some games."
Look back on images from past games between the Vikings and the Saints.
He'll have a chance in New Orleans to reconnect with running back Latavius Murray, who shared a position room in Minnesota with Cook in 2017 and 2018.
Cook said the two spoke Sunday night after it was determined that the Saints would host the Vikings in the Wild Card round.
"We're ready to play against each other. It's the right scenario – it's the playoffs," Cook said. " 'Tay' was just here, and now we're playing against each other. It's just how the league works."
The Vikings know they have a tough challenge ahead of them. As the No. 6 seed, a trio of road games stands between Minnesota and the Super Bowl.
But all the team wanted was a ticket, and it has that.
Cook said it "feels good" to have gotten in the postseason, but it's important to put that feeling aside.
"We've gotta play some football," he said. "We got in. This was the [goal] – just to get in and give ourselves a chance. We gave ourselves a chance, and now we've got to capitalize."
"Win or go home," Cook later added. "Lose, you go home. But win, you keep going. Our goal is to keep winning. We're trying to get to San Francisco; we've just got to take it one game at a time."