Pro-Bowl running back Dalvin Cook put up 96 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries before going down with a second-half shoulder injury, which knocked him out for the remainder of the game. Minnesota went on to complete the comeback in Cook’s absence, taking a 28-24 lead with 45 seconds remaining on a touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver K.J. Osborn.
Head coach Kevin O’Connell gave an update on Cook’s status during the postgame press conference, including what the running back himself said about his injury status moving forward.
“Dalvin just had a little bit of a shoulder deal that kinda came up on that fumble,” O’Connell said. “He’ll be day-to-day. We’ll run some tests. We should have some time to hopefully get him turned over.”
“After we scored I asked him how he was doing. He said, ‘I’ll be out there next week,'” O’Connell added. “Now, we’ll do what’s best for Dalvin and make sure. … Our doctors make those decisions.”
Injuries Have Put Dent in Cook’s Otherwise Impeccable Run With Vikings
Cook has been a Pro Bowler in each of the previous three seasons, despite dealing with mild to moderate injury issues during all of them.
Most recently in 2021, Cook missed four contests due to COVID protocols, as well as a separated shoulder and a torn labrum. He missed two regular season games in each of the previous two years.
Despite those problems, Cook was able to eclipse 1,100 yards rushing in each of his Pro-Bowl campaigns and amassed a total of 35 rushing touchdowns over that span. The running back also tallied 131 catches for 1,104 receiving yards and a touchdown during those three seasons, per Pro Football Reference.
Cook’s Presence Crucial as Vikings’ WR Justin Jefferson Continues to Struggle
As a primary figure in the Vikings’ offense, Cook’s health status has always been of premium importance. However, with another key player on the team currently struggling, the presence of Cook in the backfield is even more important.
Justin Jefferson opened the year looking like he was ready to assume the mantle of the NFL’s best wide receiver. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers even extended Jefferson that title after he caught nine passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings’ Week 1 win. But since that time, Jefferson has been less than pedestrian by anyone’s standards, particularly his own.
Jefferson has amassed just nine catches for 62 yards and zero touchdowns over the previous two weeks. Some of that is on Cousins and some is O’Connell’s offensive scheme but regardless of where the blame rests, Jefferson must get back on track if Minnesota hopes to compete for its first NFC North Division title in five years.