Early Selection Surprises Cook

Ryan Cook was hoping to be selected in the first day, but he certainly wasn't expecting to go in the second round and become the second center selected in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Many times, college prospects on draft weekend have been convinced by friends, coaches and agents that they're going to be a hot draft-day commodity and will go early on when the picks start going off the board. Too often, those dreams are dashed as the players wait for what seems like an eternity to hear their names called. Who can forget the painful ordeal of Aaron Rodgers a year ago, as he spent hours in the green room before he finally got called by the Packers.

On the flip side of that was new Vikings offensive lineman Ryan Cook. He was chilling out at his parents' house on the couch. He was hoping he was going to get picked on the first day, but had no guarantees in that regard. When the Vikings' call came on the draft's 51st pick, only one other center (Ohio State's Nick Mangold) had been taken. When Cook took the call, he was ecstatic – and a little stunned.

"I thought I was going somewhere either late in the third round or early fourth round," Cook said. "I wasn't really expecting to be picked as high as I was. Overall, I'm just super-excited."

The Vikings are touting the mammoth Cook, who stands almost 6-7 and weighs 328 pounds, as a player who could end up playing center, guard or tackle. The only problem is that, despite starting the final 44 games of his college career, he has never played guard and has limited experience at tackle.

"(I played) a little tackle (at New Mexico) but just in practice – nothing in live game situations," Cook said. "I did play some tackle at the Senior Bowl. I think I did an OK job out there and I think the versatility helped me a lot."

The Vikings are considering putting Cook in the mix at their revolving door at right guard and, despite never playing the position, his height and weight can probably best be used at the guard position, and he doesn't fear making the transition if called upon.

"I think center and guard are pretty interchangeable positions," Cook said. "I'm not sure on the exact specifics of how hard it is going to be, but I think I can do a fairly good job of adapting to whatever they throw at me."

What the Vikings' future plans hold for Cook will play itself out in the coming months, but one thing is certain – you can't teach height and you can teach size, and Cook has plenty of both.


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