Miami Central alum Dalvin Cook emitted extended exhales after the Minnesota Vikings picked him in the second round of Friday’s 2017 NFL Draft.
Florida State’s all-time leading rusher watched 40 other prospects fall off the board before he heard his name, while sitting on a porch at home in Miami, surrounded by dozens of friends and family members.
Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle revealed the news with his thunderous voice over a huge crowd in Philadelphia.
The Vikings traded its 48th pick and a fourth-round selection for the Cincinnati Bengals’ No. 41 pick to make the pick. Cook steps into a backfield formerly occupied by four-time All-Pro and former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson. But he won’t head into the Vikings’ brand new US Bank Stadium without competition. The franchise signed free agent Latavius Murray in March.
“@dalvincook welcome to the Room fam,” Murray tweeted Friday.
The Seminoles star is the highest-drafted Vikings running back since the team took Peterson in 2007 at No. 7 overall.
“I’m extremely excited for Dalvin and his family,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement. “The Vikings are getting a tremendous player. He changed the numbers on the scoreboard for us here and was as dynamic as any running back I’ve ever been around. Dalvin can be a game change at the next level. He’s one of the all-time greats to put on a Florida State uniform.”
“He’s also a guy that was a great leader for us and worked as hard as anybody. He and his family deserve this awesome moment. I’m thrilled for them.”
Cook, 21, fell out of the first round despite being one of the best running back prospects available in the draft. He was known for his dynamic ability out of the backfield as a runner and pass catcher. But on this day, he didn’t pout. His smile was wide as he gripped a phone to his ear excitedly. His eyes watered and pride painted the South Florida homestead.
Defensive end DeMarcus Walker went to the Denver Broncos at pick No. 51 in the second round. The Seminoles have now had players picked in 34 consecutive drafts.
“8 rushers got picked before me, PLEASE remember this,” Walker tweeted after he was picked.
The consensus All-American had 27 sacks and 41.5 tackles for a loss in 49 games with the Seminoles. He had 16 sacks in 2017.
FIU tight end Jonnu Smith was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the third round with the 100th overall pick.
Cook made it look easy to pile up 4,464 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns to carry the Seminoles, but it wasn’t a breeze watching his chances as a first-round prospect slip away.
Despite comparisons to NFL stars past and present, it was Cook’s off-field activity that triggered his free-fell.
“So the reason as far as I’m told relates to some of the people that he hangs out with off the field,” NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. “It’s more upbringing than character if that makes any sense. Because at this point, from what I’m told, the on-field character is very good, considered to be at Florida State an excellent teammate, a very hard worker. But some of it is the situations he puts himself in off the field. He has promised teams that the people around him are not coming with him to the NFL.”
The drop in draft stock will cost Cook. Last year, the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott in the first round with the No. 4 pick. The Tennessee Titans picked up Derrick Henry in the second round at pick No. 45. Henry signed a four-year, $5.4 million deal. Elliott signed for four years and $24.9 million. Elliott’s deal was fully guaranteed, while Henry’s is not.
The New Orleans Saints added FAU defensive end Trey Hendrickson in the third round with the 103rd overall selection.
Former Miami Northwestern star Teddy Bridgewater is also on the Vikings’ roster.
He’ll showoff his skills first for the Vikings during the preseason. His first chance will be during its Aug. 10 contest against the Buffalo Bills. Cook and the Vikings host the Miami Dolphins on Aug. 31 in preseason action.
“We were excited to get the quality of running back we were able to get. We started making some calls once we realized he was going to slide to the second day. We thought he was just too talented a player tot to take a swing and try to go up and get him.”
FAU defensive end Trey Hendrickson, USF running back Marlon Mack, FSU tackle Roderick Johnson, FSU fullback Freddie Stevenson, cornerback Marquez White, and guard Kareem are expected to be drafted Saturday. UCF CB Shaquill Griffin, FIU’s Jonnu Smith and tackle Dieugot Joseph are also expected to go.