Dalvin Cook had a promising rookie campaign cut painfully short due to a left knee ACL tear after just four weeks. The Minnesota Vikings running back isn't about to let the injury affect a second season.
Cook burst onto the scene in his first game as the Vikes' workhorse, breaking Adrian Peterson's franchise opening-game record by galloping for 127 yards on 22 carries. In three and a half tilts, Cook compiled 74 attempts for 354 yards and two touchdowns.
The 22-year-old aims to come back better than ever.
"It's a process, it's a journey, something that you've got to trust yourself and know that you did everything in your power to get your knee back," Cook said, via the team's official website. "I attacked this thing every day and did what I needed to do to get to this point. I had no doubt when I first took the field that it was where I wanted to be."
Cook has participated in the Vikings' offseason conditioning work. The team expects him to be available for organized team activities, minicamp on a limited basis, and be full-go by training camp later this summer.
"Dalvin has knocked the rehab out of the park," Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said. "He's done a great job. He's been here every day since the injury occurred post op and really hasn't missed a beat in transitioning from Winter Park to this new, beautiful facility. He's been here with a smile on his face every day. Give him the credit because he's put in all of the work to get to the point where he's at."
Before the injury, Cook was the Vikings' bell-cow back. With Jerick McKinnon defecting to San Francisco, Cook should regain those reins, even if the coaching staff eases him into duty. Latavius Murry will spell the dual-threat Cook for spurts, but the young back should be one of the few workhorses in 2018.
First, however, he must get to 100 percent.
"Whatever plan they've got for me, I'm going to keep attacking this thing every day," Cook said. "I'm going to keep coming in with my hard hat on, coming in to work with a smile on my face because this is what I love to do. This is the game that I signed up for. Injuries come with the game, and I'm going to take this thing day-by-day and keep moving forward."