The Vikings' 2017 second-round pick Dalvin Cook made a huge impression on his high school football coach at Miami Central.
Coach Roland Smith, who played defensive back in two national championships with the Miami Hurricanes, guided Cook during his senior season and thinks he could be the NFL's next Jamaal Charles.
Check out our full Q&A with Smith below, or listen to the interview right here.
Tell us about Dalvin Cook.
You're getting a special player in Dalvin Cook. Dalvin Cook is a guy who's gonna give you 110 percent every time he touches the field. You guys gonna be proud of him because he's a playmaker, he's an explosion player waiting to happen every time he touches the ball. Not only a great football player, but a great human being, great person.
Is Dalvin Cook an elite player?
Yes he is. You guys getting him in the spot you got him at is a steal. It wouldn't surprise me if he'd be rookie of the year because that's the type of player he is. He's very explosive and he's a very dedicated man at what he does. He takes his work very seriously. Every time he comes to practice he gives 110 percent and he's going to do the little things to get better each and every day.
Give us a Dalvin Cook comparison.
He kind of reminds me of (Jamaal) Charles. He can run in between tackles, he can run outside. He can even be a punt returner. He didn't do that too much in college but he did in high school. He's just a phenomenal football player and he can make a play happen any time he touches a ball on the field.
What about Cook will surprise fans?
He's humble, low key. He's kind of shy – sticks to himself until he's spoken to. For a guy who comes from south Florida – they think we're kind of rowdy people – but he has a great personality and he's a team player. He's going to play for his teammates and he's going to play for the organization.
I can recall one time where I took him out to a USC rising senior camp in California. He worked out with Adoree' Jackson and Leonard Fournette and we had to come from the West Coast and came back to south Florida to practice, and I told Dalvin, 'You've been working real hard. Take the day off and come back tomorrow. I know it's a different time zone, get your rest.'
He said, 'Coach, if my teammates practice I'm going to be there.' As soon as we got off the plane he dropped off his suitcase, changed clothes and we had 16 quarters on the track. It was a hot, humid day ... 90-some degrees, and guess who's leading every one of those quarters? Dalvin Cook. Telling his teammates to stand up, stand up tall. Champions don't need a down. That's the kind of player you're going to get. He's a team player. If he's in town and he's able to practice he's going to practice. He's not going to have any excuses.
Did anyone from the Vikings contact you before the draft?
No. I didn't think he was going to go to the Vikings. I thought it was Tampa or Philadelphia. But him landing in Minnesota was your guys' blessing.