Dalvin Cook said the six-month contract negotiations that ended in a five-year extension worth up to $63 million last weekend taught him to "not get too impatient." That remains relevant after he had just 13 touches for 48 yards (and two touchdowns) in Sunday's season-opening loss to the Packers.
Cook was upbeat Monday, two days after signing with the Vikings through 2025 for $28 million guaranteed, saying he always intended to remain with the team that traded up in 2017's second round to draft him.
"Being in Minnesota was always important to me with the guys I've built the relationships with and just being around the guys in the locker room and everybody in Minnesota. I love being here," Cook said via videoconference. "That was important, getting that done before the season so I could just turn it loose."
He was not able to turn it loose Sunday. Coach Mike Zimmer pointed to the offense's lackluster second quarter including the safety, interception and a three-and-out as part of the problem. Players felt the absence of the crowd and home-field advantage that typically comes with U.S. Bank Stadium, according to Cook.
"There's something that we've got to find to give us an edge to get up and go play," he said. "Sunday, we didn't find that. We've got to come together as a team, and we've got to find that extra 'it' to get it going."
Despite prolonged contract talks that ran until the eve of the 2020 season opener the mutual interest in a new deal prevented much doubt.
"I know how much Minnesota values me and how the front office thinks about me. I knew I did enough as a player," Cook said. "It was always, 'Dalvin, just go out there and play and give it all I've got.' That's the mind-set that I keep every day I wake up. I knew the Vikings had realized that."
Rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler got a lesson in NFL situational awareness Sunday when Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers targeted him over the top on a 45-yard touchdown pass, giving Green Bay a 22-7 lead just before halftime. Dantzler wore a Mississippi St. shirt Monday when explaining a pass he probably never saw in college.
"I should've known that a guy like Aaron Rodgers, he always goes for the deep ball and the touchdown," Dantzler said. "It's just something I have to put past me and learn from. When I get into that situation again, I'll know what to do."
Zimmer said he can do "a better job" coaching when asked about the Vikings' young cornerbacks Dantzler, Holton Hill and Mike Hughes after Rodgers threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns. Zimmer added that Dantzler showed some positive signs in his NFL debut — outside of the touchdown.
The third-round pick finished with four tackles.
The safety forced by Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander on an apparent blitz might not have been a blitz at all. Zimmer said Alexander was biting on quarterback Kirk Cousins' play-action handoff from the 4-yard line. Alexander crossed the face mask of receiver Adam Thielen before sacking Cousins for two points.
"What I was told was that the corner thought it was a run, so he just kept coming, but we have a guy responsible for him," Zimmer said. "I'm not going to mention who it would be, and he didn't see him."