EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings were eager enough to start drafting after sitting out the first round that they traded up seven spots for Florida State running back Dalvin Cook with the 41st overall pick Friday night.
The Vikings sent one of their fourth-round selections, No. 128 overall, to Cincinnati to slide up in the second round.
The 5-foot-11, 213-pound Cook was a first team Associated Press All-American last season as a junior and totaled 38 touchdowns over the last two years for the Seminoles. He averaged more than 138 yards rushing per game over his final two seasons.
Though the Vikings signed Latavius Murray in free agency last month and the versatile Jerick McKinnon returns for his fourth year in the NFL, Cook was targeted as the long-term replacement for Adrian Peterson. He was the third running back taken this weekend, after LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey went in the first round.
The Vikings had two picks in the third round, with No. 79 and No. 86 waiting for them later Friday.
Their first-rounder long gone to Philadelphia in the trade for quarterback Sam Bradford, the Vikings were still in good shape to address their greatest need, the offensive line, with only two tackles off the board from the first round Thursday night. But Alabama tackle Cam Robinson and Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp went at No. 34 and No. 38, starting to deplete the elite end of the pool of blockers. Running back being one of the spots where having multiple reliable players is important,
Cook came with some off-the-field questions, despite being found not guilty of misdemeanor battery just before the 2015 season following a bar fight earlier that summer. But the character concern was nothing like that surrounding Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who was caught on video punching a woman in the face three years ago. Mixon was still available when the Vikings moved up to take Cook but went instead to the Bengals.
The last time the Vikings were without a first-rounder was 2010, but they took the 30th overall pick into the draft and simply moved down four spots into the beginning of the second round in a swap with Detroit that yielded cornerback Chris Cook. Prior to that, the pre-draft trade with Kansas City in 2008 that landed defensive end Jared Allen left the Vikings without a first-rounder. They picked free safety Tyrell Johnson in the second round that year.
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