Just over eight months removed from an ACL injury that abruptly derailed his rookie season, Dalvin Cook ran plays with the offense for the first time in 11-on-11 drills during Tuesday’s practice.
Cook didn’t touch the ball much, but it was a positive step forward in the understandably grueling rehab for the Vikings’ former second-round pick. Cook split out wide for several plays during goal-line drills and was targeted once on a bubble screen, but Brian Robison batted the ball down at the line of scrimmage.
“You go out there and rehab and try to get your body back in shape,” Cook told reporters, “but you think you’re in shape until you go take four reps back to back, and then you’re like, ‘Man, it’s a different type of shape you’ve got to get in.'”
The four games Cook played last year were enough to tantalize Vikings fans into pondering what type of numbers the rookie might have posted in a 16-game slate. He was on pace for over 1,400 yards when his ACL gave out in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions in Week 4.
While Cook looks a bit different with a bulky support protecting his left knee, he’s confident little has changed from last year.
“I’m still Dalvin Cook. I haven’t left,” he said. “The motivation is still here. My talent is still here. Just a little older. That’s it.”
Another big day for Carlson
For the third straight week during a practice that was open to the media, rookie Daniel Carlson outperformed Kai Forbath in the kicking game.
Carlson banged through kicks of 33, 43, 46 and 50 yards — the 50-yarder seemingly clearing the cross bar by at least 10 yards. Forbath was good from 33, 43 and 46 but left his 50-yard attempt short.
Last week, Carlson went 5 for 5, while Forbath went 3 for 5. The previous week, Carlson went 4 for 4; Forbath 3 for 4.
There are certainly more kicks being charted than the ones available for reporters’ eyes, but there is presumably more pressure associated with kicks that will have their results reported.
Thus far, Carlson is vindicating the Vikings’ decision to spend a fifth-round pick on a kicker who made just 74 percent of his kicks as a senior at Auburn.
Rookie defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes did not participate Tuesday with an undisclosed injury, his first time missing a practice the media has attended.
WR Stacy Coley, RB Mack Brown, RB Roc Thomas, S Andrew Sendejo, LB Reshard Cliett, CB Trevon Mathis, LB Devante Downs, C Pat Elflein, WR Jeff Badet and DE Everson Griffen were also limited or inactive. As mentioned above, Cook had a helmet on for a portion of practice but did not participate fully.
TE Tyler Conklin appeared to be a full participant after spending the last two weeks on the rehab field.
Head coach Mike Zimmer turned 62 on Tuesday and got serenaded by the team.
“It was bad singing,” he said. “No presents. Good practice was a good present.”
Fun fact: Zimmer was born on the same day as world famous saxophonist Kenny G.
Catch of the Day
WR Brandon Zylstra went up over CB Marcus Sherels and got both feet down in the corner of the end zone for an impressive touchdown catch during red-zone drills.
Zylstra was the CFL’s leading receiver last year, notching 1,687 yards for the Edmonton Eskimos.