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Cook's Surprise Visit a Highlight for Youth Flag Football Team


Escape the Minnesota winter and play football?

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook got to do just that during his first career Pro Bowl, and he was happy to hear that a Twin Cities flag football team could share a similar experience.

The Vikings again sponsored the West Side Boosters, a team comprised of 13- and 14-year-old boys from St. Paul, for their third consecutive trip to Orlando during Pro Bowl week for the NFL Flag Championships.

The West Side Boosters won the NFL flag football tournament hosted by the Vikings at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center to earn a trip to sunny Florida.

"It means everything to them," said Vikings Youth Football Manager Madison Cortese. "They get to come to the sunshine and play a sport they love, and we're able to provide an experience for the kids, which is what it's all about."

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook attended a youth flag football game as a part of community outreach with the NFL during Pro Bowl week.

The Boosters played three games at ESPN's Wide World of Sports on Jan. 24. Although the team did not advance to the semifinals, plenty of fun was had.

And a surprise visit by Cook made the day extra special.

The Vikings running back showed up unannounced for the Boosters' first game of the day and was met by pure excitement when he stepped into the team's huddle prior to kickoff.

"Dalvin was there for their entire game," Cortese said. "He was coaching them up, running some plays with them and just encouraging them."

Supporting from the sidelines, Cook paired his white-and-gold Pro Bowl practice jersey with a genuine smile.

"It's fun. You get to be around the kids and watch them enjoy themselves and just be them," Cook said. "And you get to be you – just show the kids how much you love the game and just give them a little advice on what you see and what you think."

Cook gave the Boosters a pep talk following their game and even stayed for the first half of a girls game that started up on the same field.

He laughed while watching one woman pacing the sideline and cheering passionately for her daughter.

"That's a mom right there!" Cook yelled, clapping in approval.

"I see my own mother and my grandmother [in her], running up and down the sidelines, my dad, them all pushing me," Cook said. "Now, it's just kind of like, 'Do your thing.' But when you're a kid, they push you and make you live up to your potential."