As anyone that’s read this site for any length of time knows, I find the idea of grading a draft before any of its players have set foot on the field to be a bit ridiculous. However, there are plenty of people that are out there doing precisely that, so let’s take a spin around the internet and see what some of the experts think of the Vikings’ selection of Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports - B grade
From a talent standpoint, it's a steal. He has star ability, but there are concerns off the field.
Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football - A+ grade
This might end up being the best pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The fact that Dalvin Cook fell this far is ridiculous. I know he tested very poorly at the combine, but his vision, which isn't taken into account via the analytics, is excellent. It's an extremely important trait for a running back. The Vikings signed Latavius Murray, but no one really considers him to be a viable starter. Cook can be, and he's a top-15 talent to boot. Great job by Minnesota with this selection.
Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated - A grade
Both Cook and Joe Mixon were still sitting on the board at 41, so the Vikings made a move up to address their RB situation (48 and 128 to Cincinnati). Cook isn’t a “clean” prospect, necessarily, but he was our top-ranked back. He’s a dynamic playmaker that will bolster that offense.
Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report - B grade
Strengths: Quickness, agility, balance, vision, route running and receiving.
Weaknesses: Off-field issues.
. . .
I don’t think Cook is really a risk to end up leading off on CNN. He is a risk to end up like Aldon Smith, however: terror on the field, maybe a great guy in the locker room, but a victim of his own dubious choices after sunset. And that’s based on BB guns, barroom incidents and neglected puppies, not hearsay.
That said, the Vikings running game was utterly miserable last season: 75.3 yards per game, 3.2 yards per attempt (both league lows), just six plays of 20-plus yards. Free-agent arrival Latavius Murray is a pretty good back, but he never quite claimed a featured role for the Raiders, and their offensive line could actually block last year.
Character risks are baked into these grades as best they can be.
So, overall, it appears that the pick is a pretty good one. . .from a football perspective, at least. I certainly don’t think that the off-field things are going to be that big a deal for the Vikings, particularly in light of this from Rick Spielman’s press conference this evening.
Spielman said he spoke with Cook for 45 minutes today.— Sam Ekstrom (@SamEkstrom) April 29, 2017
Spileman: "We had no concerns with his medical...we spent an extensive amount of time researching his background, felt very comfortable."— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) April 29, 2017
There will almost certainly be more feedback about this selection in the next few days. Whenever there is, we will have it right here.