Vikings Duo Poised For 1st Start After 2 Starters Ruled Out

Alexander Mattison

Getty Alexander Mattison will make his first NFL start after Dalvin Cook was ruled out of Sunday's game against the Falcons. A college teammate of his may join him.

The Vikings will officially be without the league’s leading rusher in Dalvin Cook on Sunday against the Falcons.

Cook was declared out after practice on Friday with a groin strain along with starting right guard Dru Samia and cornerback Kris Boyd. Samia has a wrist injury he received an MRI for on Thursday, while Boyd has been hampered with hamstring issues this season that have forced him out for this week’s game.

Holton Hill, who has started in two games and has played at least 76 percent of snaps in all four games he’s played this season, is listed as doubtful with a foot injury.

Falcons Pro Bowlers Julio Jones and Grady Jarrett landed on this week’s injury report but did not receive injury designations on Friday. Jones did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday but upgraded his status to limited on Friday.

Both are expected to be available on Sunday as the Falcons seek their first win this season under interim head coach Raheem Morris following the firings of coach Dan Quinn and general manager Dimitroff.

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A Pair of Boise State Broncos Could Make Their 1st NFL Starts

Ezra Cleveland

GettyEzra Cleveland may make his first NFL start on Sunday.

With Cook’s injury, backup running back Alexander Mattison is a shoo-in to make his first career start in his second year. Mattison carried the ball 20 times 112 yards of the Vikings’ loss to the Seahawks after Cook suffered his groin strain on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.

Mattison’s college teammate from Boise State and second-round draft pick Ezra Cleveland could be in line to start in Samia’s stead, a reunion the duo have been waiting for since draft day.

“I’m just super excited to be back with my brother,” Mattison told the Idaho Press. “Words can’t explain how pumped I am to be teammates again. That’s my brother for life and now we’re teammates again. I can’t wait.”

Cleveland has yet to be declared as the starter and competed with second-year lineman Oli Udoh, who started one game against the Bears a season ago, but the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson reported that he has heard ruminations that the Vikings will start Cleveland at left guard and move Dakota Dozier to right guard.

Gary Kubiak did say that Cleveland has been coming along and that the only thing missing for him to make the next step is an opportunity.

“I think before this thing’s said and done, you’re going to see him get an opportunity to produce and be a part of our team. I’m really proud of how far he’s come,” Kubiak said. “It’s probably just about an opportunity, to be honest with you. A lot of times guys are out there working and practicing well, and you see them growing as players, and then you never know which given Sunday, all of a sudden, it’s going to be his turn.”

The chemistry between Mattison and Cleveland could prove to be a benefit in a week where there are adjustments needed.

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