How do the Vikings keep their top draft pick fresh in the offseason? How is the team preparing to keep undrafted free agent Dalvin Cook fresh in 2021?
Just when you thought the offseason couldn’t get any more fun, Vikings training camp rolls around in 2021. And while it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Vikings would let their star running back walk in free agency, that’s exactly what would happen if he hit the open market after the 2021 season.
Let’s start with Cook’s status. The Vikings are going to have a decision to make, on whether or not they’ll bring back Cook, who is a pending free agent. The Vikings have made it clear they want Cook back, but it appears that Cook will be seeking a massive contract extension. The Vikings likely want to keep Cook as they have a lot of cap space, so they can re-sign others in the future, but it might be that Cook demands a deal that the Vikings will not be able to afford.
EAGAN, Minn. — Three months separate the Minnesota Vikings from planning how to wear down the defense, but they’re already thinking about when to call on running back Dalvin Cook to continue his best season of his career. Cook, 25, ran 312 times for a career-high 1,557 yards (5.0 yards per pass). He ranked first in total yards (137) and touchdowns (25.4) per game and second in run defense (17) and touchdowns (356) in 2020. History shows that running backs who can handle such a heavy workload in one season often fall apart the following year. That’s what happened to Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers last season after 403 touches in 2019. The same was true for former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster the season after his outstanding 2012 campaign (391 touches). Defenders from Terrell Davis to Eddie George to Jamal Lewis have suffered injuries or a loss of effectiveness after a season of great effort. What you need to know about the Minnesota Vikings team: – Vikings free agents – Free agents report | More NFL – Analysis of each Vikings draft pick – Guard scores for each team – McShay’s favorite pick for all 32 teams – Vikings 2021 schedule | All games Cook’s threshold isn’t as high as those in the 370-caliber category, but the Vikings are eager to retain the star they signed in September 2020 to a five-year, $63 million contract. That means they have to control his workload – like. B. limit the number of reps during OTAs, minicamp and training camp – so they can make him endure 17 grueling weeks of offense. … He has an incredible [running backs coach], Kennedy Polamalu, who always keeps an eye on him, Vikings offensive coordinator Clint Kubiak said. Our strength training team monitors training load daily with a GPS tracker. So we’re aware of his touches, we’ll manage them, but you also want to give him a lot of work because, like all players, they need reps to get better. Cook’s first three seasons were cut short by a torn ACL as a rookie, a hamstring injury that limited him to 10 games in 2018 and wear and tear that caused him to miss two games in 2019. Cook missed week six of last season with a groin injury, but still put up the numbers that made him MVP. Part of the reason Cook was able to stay on the field and be productive last season was due to the changes he made to his routine, especially in the offseason. This includes knowing when to take your foot off the gas and when to hold it. I feel good, Cook said. I worked my ass off all season to be ready. For me, the most important thing is to remain patient. I want to play football now. That’s how my body feels. Part of keeping Dalvin Cook (right) fresh is making sure Alexander Mattison (left) gets enough help to assist the Vikings star. Hannah Foslien/Getty Images What I’ve added to my game is basically nothing. For me, he’s the best teammate. Helping young people get better. We have a young team and I step in and I am who Dalvin Cook is, not off the line and no one else, but Dalvin Cook and help the guys get better, get comfortable. I think that’s the best way to get the team where we want to be. That’s partly because Cook has taken a more active leadership role, allowing other defenders like Alexander Mattison, Amir Abdullah and rookie Kene Nwangwu to benefit from the way he’s learned to take care of himself. It’s something I didn’t have when I was younger – a routine to prepare my mind and body for work each week, Cook says. Or getting ready for training or whatever. I had no routine. That’s what I try to tell young people. If you’re still young, try to set up a routine so you can practice. I think when you have a routine, the mind becomes active, the body becomes active, and things take their course. – Vaughn Miller ready to prove himself – Richie Incognito takes over – Josh Allen looks to improve – Dalvin Cook starts in midseason – Rodgers to Denver: What needs to be done? I’m in my fifth year now and I have a routine for everything I do and how I want to do it. Like I said, the people around me know how I want things done. And I think that’s important. The body responds naturally, and I think that’s where I am right now. Cook has added more wellness to his program every year since he was drafted in 2017. Workouts in the gym are an important part of any athlete’s offseason program, but there are specific things running backs should do to prepare for more exposure. The first two years I was injured, and I thought: What can I do differently so I don’t end up in this situation again? Cook said. Focus on those little muscles, focus on the things you don’t care about. I knew I had to get stronger. I didn’t feel like I was bodybuilding, but I went in, did a few reps, did more squats, focused more on my legs. That was it for me. My speed was on the field, getting faster and more explosive was the key for me. I didn’t do anything special in the gym, I just attacked a little harder.
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