Full disclosure: I am well aware that this is a departure from the Nashville-centric content we run on a daily basis. But I recently had a chance to sit down with Dalvin Cook, and I certainly wasn’t going to let that opportunity pass me by.
The Minnesota Vikings got quite the bargain when they landed Cook in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Cook has quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in the league and is currently neck and neck with Derrick Henry for this year’s rushing title.
In this exclusive interview, Cook and I spoke about why he’s hungry to be the best, advice for the next wave of running backs coming into the league, and when he experienced his “welcome to the NFL” moment.
JM: You’re the eighth player to be awarded the SNICKERS Chain this season, which is awarded to the league’s ‘Hungriest Player’ each week. Legendary jeweler Ben Baller designed the chain, and it’s really stunning. What was your initial reaction when you first saw it?
DC: I was definitely impressed. It’s even nicer than it looks in pictures. I’ve seen a couple of the guys before me that had the chain. They took pictures of it on their social media and what not. You can tell it’s a cool design when you see it in pictures. It looks even better in person, though.
JM: You’re now a few years removed from the NFL draft process. What was the best, and worst part of the process for you?
DC: I think the best part was getting it over with (laughs). You’re just anxious to find out where you’re going. It’s such a long process. You’re on pins and needles the entire time. The waiting game was the worst part. You just can’t wait to hear your name get called on draft weekend.
You watch guys get drafted before you that you believe you’re better than. That can be tough. All of the comparing that goes on, it’s a mind game. You’re just waiting to hear your name get called. Your family is there with you and it can be hours and hours. They may get bored and tired of waiting. It may even be a whole day before your name gets called. You start to get upset.
You go through every emotion on draft weekend. There’s so much to the process. I couldn’t wait to get it over with. It’s the start of your opportunity. That’s the most important thing.
JM: 2020 has been a strange year in general. College football has obviously been impacted. What advice would you offer these running backs who are trying to break into the league?
DC: There’s always going to be an opportunity in front of you. COVID-19 has impacted the world in a major way. It’s taken away our sense of normalcy, so to speak. We can’t let that stop us, though. We can’t let it get in front of our dreams. You have to stay on your grind. Don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams. We all have to keep pushing. We all know that the world isn’t what it used to be. If you wanna’ get where you wanna’ go, you have to put that behind you and keep fighting.
JM: We love that. Who are some of your favorite running backs to watch in the NFL besides yourself of course?
DC: I enjoy watching guys like Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara. Those are some of the guys I watch tape on.
JM: In closing, what was your “Welcome to the NFL” moment?
DC: It’s crazy that you just asked me that. We just played against Adrian Peterson last Sunday. My first NFL game was against Adrian Peterson as well. He was playing for the New Orleans Saints at the time. He had just left Minnesota and they had just drafted me.
I had to play against him in my first NFL game. Wow. It was a sold out crowd. I broke the franchise record for the most rushing yards in a rookie debut. I’ll never forget the feeling in the stadium after the game. I felt like yeah, I’m in the NFL now. It was crazy. I played against AP in my first game. It doesn’t get any crazier than that.
Fans can check out Dalvin’s social media to see the chain and follow #SNICKERSchain on social to see which player gets it each week throughout the season.