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Bradford praises Dalvin Cook's 'seamless' move to NFL

This year's preseason action has been highlighted by a contingent of thrilling rookie running backs.

Uber-athlete Christian McCaffrey has dazzled in Carolina, while Joe Mixon has a shot to start right away for the Bengals. That's also the case for Minnesota's Dalvin Cook, who has soared ahead of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon as the team's unquestioned lead runner.

According to quarterback Sam Bradford, Cook has masterfully absorbed everything the Vikings have thrown at him along the way.

"When you're young, you're thinking a lot, there's a lot going on, sometimes the speed gets to you, but for him, it's been really seamless," Bradford said, per ESPN. "We put a play in, we put a protection in, we put a scheme in, and it's like he's got it."

Cook has shown talent on the ground over two starts -- picking up 53 yards off 12 attempts -- but also through the air, nabbing five catches for 50 yards as a reliable presence out of the backfield for Bradford to zero in on.

Plenty of rookie runners have struggled to pick up the concept of pass protection, forcing teams to bring in someone else on passing downs. Not the case with Cook.

"He's really good in protection, which I think is key for him to be able to be out there first, second and third down," Bradford said. "I think that has been what's allowed him to step out there and be successful."

The same can be said of McCaffrey and Mixon, who hit the scene as another example of college football's ability to produce well-rounded backs who can do it all at the NFL level. That leap, though, requires a rookie to avoid drive-crushing errors, something Cook has proven capable of.

"He works hard and studies," coach Mike Zimmer said. "I think [running back's coach Kennedy Polamalu] is doing a nice job with him. He hasn't made very many mistakes and when he does, he doesn't typically repeat it."

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