Dalvin Cook tells about the time he randomly found Justin Jefferson playing pickup soccer


Imagine driving around the block, surveying your surroundings, only to find All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson dripping gallons of sweat, sprinting up and down the field in a pickup soccer game. Dalvin Cook lived that bizarre reality recently, coming across his Vikings teammate at a local park.

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“He comes to my house to hoop all the time. But I was riding by the park a couple weeks ago, and I see him out there playing soccer. I was just like, ‘What you doing?’ ‘I’m playing soccer!’” said Cook, relaying the surreal experience during Wednesday’s media availability. “It was just funny, because you see the gift that he has. He’s just so talented. I believe he could play any sport he wants, if he puts his mind to it. That’s just how his body is—he’s agile and just a good athlete, in my opinion."

That’s an ambitious claim, but we know better than to doubt Jefferson, who has proven a phenomenal athlete at every turn, leading FBS in catches during LSU’s title run in 2019, then setting a rookie record for receiving yards a year later in his debut season with Minnesota.

There’s a certain beauty in just playing a sport for fun, a purity and youthful exuberance not often found at the professional level, where commercialism and the rigors of training too often take precedence. The Vikings, fearing for their star receiver’s safety, probably weren’t thrilled to hear of Jefferson risking injury in a pickup setting, but credit the 22-year-old for being a man of the people, not letting fame or celebrity deter him from mingling with other footy enthusiasts at the neighborhood pitch.

Coming off a loss to his former LSU teammates Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase Sunday at Cincinnati, Jefferson and the Vikes will look to rebound on their home turf when the Seahawks visit in Week 2.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: David Berding, Getty Images