Former Vikings RB Smith praises rookie Cook's resiliency
It's not an endorsement from Adrian Peterson, but for Minnesota Vikings fans it's probably the next best thing.
Former Vikings running back Robert Smith visited the team's practice facility in Eden Prairie on Wednesday and shared his thoughts on rookie runner Dalvin Cook.
The top running back in Vikings history prior to Peterson's arrival, Smith rushed for 6,818 yards and 32 touchdowns in eight seasons with Minnesota.
"I love him as a player," Smith told Vikings.com. "Seeing him at Florida State, the ability to break the big runs, but the ability to play through nagging injuries."
Smith has some experience in that area.
Selected in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft, Smith dealt with health problems throughout his career, including multiple knee surgeries, before retiring at 28 years old in 2000 despite making the Pro Bowl in his final season.
Smith described a game in which Cook "had probably a 40-50-yard run" despite suffering a hamstring injury.
"You could see, there was some question before the game on if he was going to play, and you could see during the run that it bothered him and started pulling on him, but he still finished the run," Smith said.
Cook battled through a hamstring injury during a game against Miami in 2015, rushing for 222 yards and two touchdowns, as well as 47 receiving yards and a touchdown, leading the Seminoles to a 29-24 win.
A second-round pick and the third running back selected in this year's NFL Draft, Cook rushed for a combined 4,464 yards in three seasons at Florida State, breaking the school's all-time rushing record.
One of several running backs in the mix for the starting job, Cook is expected to split carries with free-agent signing Latavius Murray, as well as fourth-year back Jerick McKinnon.