Questions Abound on Cook

The Vikings were defending their second-round selection of offensive lineman Ryan Cook. They aren't exactly sure what position he'll play, but they say they had him rated right where they selected him.

It may not be fair to point out that the pick the Vikings got for Daunte Culpepper was used on a center who likely won't be playing center in the NFL.

When the Vikings surprised a lot of people by taking Ryan Cook with the 51st pick of the draft, they took a giant that played four years of college football as a starting center. But at 6-7, he may be too big to play center in the NFL effectively, leaving the Vikings with the option to use him as a center, guard or tackle.

"He's very strong, big and young," said Fran Foley, vice president of player personnel. "He also has position flexibility. We felt we needed another offensive lineman. This player is a guy we think can play both center and guard. We'll work him probably at both spots."

To make the transition, Cook will have to improve his game, according to Scott Studwell, director of college scouting. He needs work on his hand speed and will have to be in better condition to advance at the pros – some of the scouting comments about his girth were almost actionable – he will need a lot of work to become a NFL starter. But was he a "reach" pick?

"He was right at our pick," Studwell said. "That was the way our scouts graded him. Do we feel we reached for him? No, absolutely not. We felt we needed some help at the center position and some insurance at the center position. We really liked his flexibility and, grade-wise, that is where we had him. Hopefully, we were right and we got the player we think he's going to be."

Whether Cook is what the Vikings hope and expect, he will certainly be one thing for the rest of his career and beyond – the guy the Vikings got for Daunte Culpepper.

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