The Minnesota Vikings' decision to rest running back Dalvin Cook for their last two regular-season games ahead of a wild-card matchup with the New Orleans Saints appears to have paid off on the front end.
"I've been putting the time in, and I feel good," Cook told reporters Monday afternoon.
He continued: "It's a long season. You go through a lot, your body takes a lot. I got some rest, and I'm ready to go."
Minnesota selected Cook in the second round of the 2017 draft, and the Florida State product is already a veteran at navigating injuries.
He suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Week 4 of his rookie campaign, which meant he had to watch the Vikings' last-second "Minneapolis Miracle" that ousted the Saints in the 2017 NFC divisional round from the sidelines. That was followed by a hamstring injury that limited him to 11 games in 2018.
Through two seasons, Cook had rushed for 969 yards and four touchdowns on 207 attempts. This season, he tallied 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on 250 carries to go with a career-high 519 receiving yards.
He has been invaluable to the sixth-seeded 10-6 Vikings. Minnesota has the sixth ranked running attack at 133.3 yards per game behind Cook, and the offense will need every bit of that to keep the 13-3 Saints' third-ranked scoring offense off the field.
Sunday afternoon will mark the second time the Saints and Vikings have met since the Minneapolis Miracle, and the game will kick off at 1:05 p.m. ET from New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome.