Now Gerhart will play with Peterson in the same backfield.
The Minnesota Vikings traded up 11 spots in the second round of the NFL draft to take Gerhart on Friday night, giving Peterson a powerful running mate in Minnesota.
Can't underestimate Gerhart
Mike Mayock: At 6 feet and 231 pounds, Toby Gerhart is faster than you think. He's a fullback size with tailback speed, provides scheme versatility. He'll be part of Minnesota's offense. He's a downhill guy who lowers his pads and maximizes every run. He can even catch the football out of the backfield. This kid is a better athlete than people want to give him credit for, and with this pick, I think the Vikings just helped themselves on their quest to win a Super Bowl.
"I remember when I first started college, Adrian Peterson was the man in college," Gerhart said. "I remember saying I want to emulate my game after him. I want to be as good as he is. The opportunity to go there, to play with him, to learn under him and complement him is really a huge honor and a dream come true."
From a productivity standpoint, Gerhart was right on par with Peterson's electric career at Oklahoma.
Gerhart was the runner-up to Alabama's Mark Ingram for the 2009 Heisman Trophy in the closest race in the award's history. He rushed for 1,871 yards and scored 28 touchdowns for Stanford last season.
"We felt that was a very important position to go get since we lost Chester," Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said.
Gerhart won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back, leading the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns.
"You have to have two backs in this league," Spielman said. "One back, regardless of how great that back is, to take a 16-game pounding and plus hopefully into the playoffs, it just wears and tears on a body. Everywhere I've been, we've always had two pretty good backs.
Cook led the Cavaliers last year with four interceptions, including one he returned 58 yards for a touchdown.
Cook will help bolster a secondary that was banged up last season. Cornerback Cedric Griffin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the NFC Championship Game in January, and he might not be back to 100 percent by the start of the season. Winfield also missed six games with a foot injury and will turn 33 in June.
Cook missed the 2008 season because of academic issues. He also only managed to do seven bench-press repetitions of 225 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, the second-lowest total among defensive backs.
Cook said a shoulder injury hampered his performance on the bench, but he's fully healthy and ready to go now.
"When I watch those guys, a lot of them have an attitude about them that's like, 'You won't beat me on this play or the next play,'" Cook said. "I feel like those are the type of guys that I need to be around."
One position that doesn't appear to be a priority is finding a quarterback of the future. Brett Favre has yet to tell the Vikings if he will return for a 20th NFL season and second in Minnesota.
Even if Favre does, as many expect, he will turn 41 in October. Despite Favre's reputation as the NFL's ultimate iron man, he isn't the long-term answer at quarterback for the Vikings.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press