Dalvin Cook is a sensational football player, one who is successful largely because of his intangibles. When they watch him on TV, fans usually focus on his athleticism. It takes a truly gifted athlete to make NFL players look slow; Cook makes NFL players look slow. While it’s certainly fair to appreciate Cook’s athleticism, fans should also appreciate the other attributes that allow him to succeed. Indeed, Dalvin Cook’s intangibles are vitally important to his success.
Dalvin Cook and The Importance of Intangibles
NFL coaches commonly laud players for their intangibles. Kirk Cousins has always been praised for his professionalism, intelligence, and work ethic. Eric Kendricks, in like manner, obviously has outstanding intelligence and study habits. There is simply no way Kendricks could be so instinctive unless he put in a ton of time preparing.
Cook deserves a similar amount of recognition. During the offseason, Gary Kubiak was effusive in his praise of Cook. Kubiak insisted that Cook is intelligent enough to teach the offense to the rest of the team. Mike Zimmer was similarly enthusiastic. Before the contract extension was finalized, Zimmer indicated that Cook would be a captain.
For the past several seasons, Everson Griffen was Minnesota’s emotional leader. Griffen was the one motivating his teammates before the game. This season, Cook is the one in the center of his teammates. Cousins has done it before, but it really isn’t his strength. Having Cook take on this responsibility is important for Minnesota.
Cook’s work ethic has also been evident. During his rookie season, Cook tore his ACL. The opinion from Minnesota’s staff was unanimous: Cook did everything right to get back onto the field. During the past offseason, Cook committed himself to remaining healthy by taking care of his body. Against the Bears, Cook repeatedly demonstrated his toughness and competitiveness as he took on Chicago’s formidable front-seven.
During his recent discussion with Paul Allen, Rick Spielman explained how proud he is of Cook. “Now you see him,” Spielman explained, “not only evolving as a great player on the field, and he does a great job off the field, but he’s really developed into our team leader right now.” Spielman then mentioned Cook’s role in the pregame huddle. Allen quickly followed Spielman’s comments by noting that Cook is the one motivating his teammates on the sidelines during the game.
How much more could a team really ask from their star player? Dalvin Cook is almost always the most gifted athlete in every game he plays. Partnering that reality with the fact that he is highly intelligent, a great leader, and very hard worker makes Cook an impressive player. It should be completely unsurprising, then, that Cook is having an MVP-level season.