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Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook starts as center of offense

The Minnesota Vikings didn't hide their offensive plans Thursday night: Feed rookie running back Dalvin Cook.

Cook touched the ball on the first three plays of the Vikings' 17-10 win over the Buffalo Bills, earning 17 yards. The rookie got eight touches in the first 13 plays, finishing with 43 yards from scrimmage in limited work.

"I thought it was good," Zimmer said of Cook's debut, via the team's official website. "He did some good things. I thought he ran behind his pads well for the first time out."

Cook exited early in the second quarter of his first NFL appearance after showing pile-pushing ability between the tackles and pass-catching acumen out of the backfield.

The early indications suggest we should see a heavy dose of Cook when the season opens, regardless of how healthy Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are Week 1. There are still strides to make after Cook averaged just 2.6 yards per carry on five totes behind a struggling offensive line.

"I'm sure he feels like he could have done more," Zimmer said of Cook. "And he will in the future."

Cook flashing pass-catching skills makes him a three-down back, which the coaching staff was searching for to replace Adrian Peterson.

"It's something that I rely on in my game," Cook said. "Just being versatile, going out there catching balls.

"They split me out wide, released me out of the backfield ... whatever it is, I'll [do it to] help my team win games. That's what they brought me in for, I have to utilize my talent."

The key for Cook will be how he holds up in pass protection -- he appeared to whiff on a block of Jerry Hughes, who sacked Sam Bradford.

The Vikings will likely talk as though the starting running back spot remains up for grabs, but barring injury it would be a shock if anyone other than Cook carried the load in Minnesota to open the year.

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