So, there I was, minding my own business when I get an e-mail from Justin Melo, one of our SB Nation writers that primarily works over at Music City Miracles, SB Nation’s site for the Tennessee Titans. He says to me. . .”I have the opportunity to interview Dalvin Cook tomorrow. One-on-one, exclusive interview. Would you guys be interested in having the exclusive on this?”
Several moments later. . .after I regained consciousness. . .I decided that we would, in fact, be interested in such a thing. So, Justin conducted the interview, and what he’s sent me is below for your reading pleasure.
I don’t think this requires much more of an introduction, so here’s our exclusive interview with Minnesota Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook. Enjoy, all!
JM: You’re the eighth player to be awarded the SNICKERS CHAIN this season, following in the footsteps of players such as Aaron Jones, Tyler Lockett, A.J. Brown and Davante Adams just to name a few. The chain is awarded to one player each week who has shown a hunger for more with big plays and moments on the field. What does this honor mean to you?
DC: It means a lot to me. The name of the chain itself, it being awarded to the ‘Hungriest Player’ speaks for itself. I just try to go out there and make plays. This is one of those awards that recognizes your efforts. I’m very thankful to receive this honor.
JM: The Vikings have played some great football since the bye week. The offense is starting to click. What changed for this team following the bye week?
DC: I think we’ve just bought in as a team. We’re a young, inexperienced group for the most part. We’re starting to understand the coaches. We’re blocking the outside noise out. We’re not listening to any of that. We’re going out there and playing for one another. That’s why you play the game. When you do that, sometimes you don’t get the results you want, but most of the time you do.
JM: Speaking of the coaching, coach Kevin Stefanski left to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. That pushed Gary Kubiak into the offensive coordinator role. Coach Kubiak was already on the staff, but this is his first year as your offensive coordinator. How long did it take for you and coach Kubiak to get on the same page?
DC: Everything we do here is all about continuity. The funny thing about continuity is that it takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Nothing happens overnight in today’s game. It’s been a weird year with empty stadiums and what not. The fans and home field advantage can dictate a game. That’s not really the case this year. It takes time and for us, it took more time than we thought it would. We finally understand what we’re trying to get done as an offense.
JM: Does coach Kubiak ask anything of you that maybe coach Stefanski didn’t?
DC: I think they’re very similar coaches. Their styles and beliefs are very similar. Coach Stefanski was here last year, but coach Kubiak always collaborated with him on the game plan. They basically did everything together last year. They’d come together to formulate the game plan on a weekly basis. Our offense is pretty much the same as it was last year, but the lingo changed a little bit.
JM: Your running style fits this zone running scheme so well. Why do you think that is? You’re really thriving in this offense right now.
DC: I do my best to understand what we’re trying to achieve as an offense on a weekly basis. It goes back to us buying in. I’ve bought into this system. I feel like I have an excellent understanding of what we’re trying to do as an offense. That’s how you better yourself. I love the system that coach Kubiak runs. It’s a great system.
JM: What’s been your impression of Justin Jefferson so far? He’s really turning heads right now.
DC: He’s a great player. When he first came in, I knew right away that he would fit in. He was able to hit the ground running. He came into the building with some confidence. He was making one-handed catches in practice. He’s the total package. He’s a terrific athlete. He just does some different things, man. He’s playing with so much confidence right now. That’s how he carries himself around the building.
JM: He might still wear the SNICKERS Chain sometime this season.
DC: He absolutely might (laughs). I truly believe that, man. He’s going to have some big games for us. We still have a lot of football left.
JM: If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be and why?
DC: I would tell myself to trust what got me to this point in the first place. I would tell myself to never stop believing. I always kept the faith. I’ve been through some injuries. My career didn’t start how I wanted it to start. I always kept faith in the man above. I never stopped believing. I think that’s the most important thing for any young player that’s coming into the league. This game comes with injuries. It comes with all kinds of adversity. You have to accept those things and take the good with the bad. You have to keep fighting.
JM: And here you are currently leading the league in rushing. What helped keep you sane and strong through all the adversity?
DC: I have a great support system around me. I’ve always kept the faith. My teammates are my biggest supporters. I’m so thankful for every single person in this locker room. They pushed me through every tough moment I’ve encountered. I always appreciate those guys.
JM: You’ve talked a lot about faith, growth and continuity. Which part of your game do you think has grown the most in the NFL?
DC: I’ve learned to be patient. I’m not rushing things anymore. I’m letting the game come to me. I enjoy the game and I try to make sure that my positive attitude rubs off on others. That’s how I took my game to the next level. I try to help my teammates understand the moment. We enjoy the moment.
JM: I’ve really appreciated your time today, Dalvin. This has been fantastic. In closing, we’re now at the midway point of the season. What’s the goal for the Minnesota Vikings and yourself as you get ready to attack the second half of this season?
DC: We have a lot of football in front of us. I just want us to keep fighting. We have to go out there and fight for every game. Every time the whistle blows, leave it all out on the field. We have to put our best foot forward. If we do that, we’ll get where we wanna’ go. I just want us to give it everything we have each and every week. As long as we do that, I can live with the end result.
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.
Huge thanks to Justin for conducting this interview and for giving us the opportunity to share it with all of you.