Dalvin Cook vs. Latavius Murray is Mankato's main event

Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook are expected to compete for the starting job at running back.
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Will it be the veteran Latavius Murray or the rookie Dalvin Cook on the field for the first play of the 2017 season?

The running back battle will be the main event at Vikings training camp, and at this point it appears Cook has a leg up on Murray, who is still mending after ankle surgery in March. 

"I don't know yet," head coach Mike Zimmer said Sunday when asked about Murray's expected level of participation at camp. "We haven't seen him yet. We'll see how it goes."

Cook, meanwhile, sounded like a man on a mission when he talked to reporters after arriving in Mankato Sunday. 

"Showing these guys I'm ready to come and play," Cook said. "I'm ready to help this organization win football games."

Another advantage Cook has on Murray is that the Vikings run a similar offense to what he played in at Florida State.

"We're running the same thing – zone, inside zone, outside zone, utilizing me catching the football," Cook explained. "Just getting the ball in my hands as many ways as possible is the best way I can make plays. I did the same thing at Florida State and I just think that's why this situation is so unique. I'm in the same situation, I just gotta take advantage of it." 

Zimmer praised Cook's vision and acceleration but said the rookie running back's top priority should be pass protection, which Murray is fantastic at. 

"For the young running backs, pass protection is always the No. 1 thing – they gotta be able to protect the quarterback under pressure," said Zimmer. "So that'll be a good test for Dalvin."

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