Sermon ready to be ‘explosive’ after workouts with Vikings’ Cook originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
There were high expectations for the third-round pick in his rookie season, but Sermon only appeared in nine games in 2021 — two as a starter. In the Ohio State product’s 107 offensive snaps, Sermon recorded 41 carries for 167 yards and one touchdown.
Sermon actually ranked fifth on the team in rushing during the 2021 regular season, behind Elijah Mitchell (963 yards), Deebo Samuel (365), Jeff Wilson Jr. (294) and Trey Lance (168). Now, with more muscle weight on his frame, the second year running back is looking for a breakout season.
“Being explosive,” Sermon said on Wednesday. “I feel like that is one thing that I kind of lost last year, just being explosive out of that first cut. That’s been a really big emphasis for me this offseason and even still now in training camp. I’m still working on it and I’m very conscious of it.”
During the offseason, Sermon worked out with Minnesota Vikings tailback Dalvin Cook, who is known for his quick burst. The three-time Pro Bowl running back was a resource for Sermon in his preparation for his second year.
“I picked ups a few things from working with him and just picking his brain,” Sermon said. “We are in a similar system, so just being able to trust my eyes. He said that I have great vision, I just have to trust what I see and that helps me play a lot faster.”
Kyle Shanahan has already noticed a difference in the way Sermon has been accelerating in the handful of padded practices the team has had. The head coach believes the ball carrier’s mindset is much different that last season.
“Those holes in the NFL close a lot faster than they do in college,” Shanahan said. “I think that was something Trey learned the hard way in his first year and he’s got the film and the experience that happened. It’s just about hitting it without hesitation.”
Sermon admits his first NFL season was a learning experience, but the mental reps he made during the offseason have only helped him improve.