Let’s Reid between the lines…
Before Dalvin Cook was drafted in 2017, concerns about his character ran rampant in the media. But the Vikings scouting department did their due diligence, and they got a top-notch football player and man because of it.
The Vikings have a highly regarded scouting department. Former Viking Scott Studwell headed the unit until the 2019 draft, and he and his staff were respected league-wide. Since Studwell’s retirement, Minnesota’s scouts have continued earning praise for bringing in mature and talented players.
Scouting is about more than what a player looks like on the field. Before draft day, there are dozens of interviews with the player themselves, coaches, and even former teachers to try to gauge the player’s character.
Some teams will turn tail and run at the first sign of controversy with a player. Others don’t seem to care at all, signing known troublemakers and convicts with little regard, only to see them suspended later. The Vikings land in the sweet spot of aiming to recruit high-class players, while also not writing someone off because of accusations that may not be accurate.
Before the draft, respected analysts indicated that the controversy around Cook was misunderstood, blown out of proportion, and in some cases, downright false. Having come from Opa Locka Florida, a city with some of the highest crime rates in the country, it was understandable that Cook had at times been with the wrong crowd. The only two charges that remained on his record were criminal mischief from when he was a teenager, and an animal mistreatment citation.
After numerous great interviews with Cook, the Vikings trusted their scouts and the good reviews of people who knew and coached him. Minnesota selected Cook in the second round of the 2017 draft. It didn’t take long to see they made a great pick.
In three and a half years in the league, Cook has proven himself as an elite player and person. He hasn’t had so much as a brush with the law, and Vikings-related drama rarely (if ever) revolves around him. The only drama to date came with a brief contract holdout, and it was resolved quickly.
We all know who Cook is on game day. Off the field, Dalvin is a spokesperson and volunteer with Vikings Table, a food-truck charity for Minneapolis youth unveiled in 2019. Last year, he also donated his $17,000 royalty check from the football video game Madden to a local hospital. That’s the kind of player you want in your locker room.
Congrats to Dalvin Cook for another awesome season on the gridiron, but perhaps more importantly, for proving draft skeptics wrong and showing great character over the years. Hats off also to the world-class Minnesota scouts who brought another amazing role model to the Vikings.