Vikings Work Out Former Lions RB: Report

Kerryon Johnson

Getty The Vikings worked out former Lions running back Kerryon Johnson on Tuesday.

The Minnesota Vikings have yet to rule out Dalvin Cook with a shoulder injury, but they appear to be looking at adding running back depth.

The Vikings held a workout with former Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson, per NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero.

Johnson played for the Lions for three seasons before he was released last offseason. He likely doesn’t have the same insight he once did on the Lions’ offense, given the personnel and coaching changes in Detroit this past year.

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Johnson Looking For a Second Chance

A 2018 second-round pick, Johnson impressed his rookie year, averaging 5.4 yards per carry and reeling in 32 receptions as a dual-threat in the backfield. He suffered a knee injury in the second half of his rookie season and saw a decline in his efficiency, producing at just 3.6 yards per clip on the ground.

Johnson was phased out of the Lions offense in 2020, playing behind D’Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson. He played in all 16 games but took just 52 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

Johnson has had brief stints with the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles this season. The 49ers released him in early October. He’s since worked out with the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.

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Mixed Signals on Cook

After Dalvin Cook left Sunday’s loss to the 49ers with an apparent shoulder injury, coach Mike Zimmer said Cook would get an MRI on Monday.

Ian Rapoport reported that Cook suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder and would likely miss multiple games but would still be available later this season. Contrarily, Zimmer denied that Cook tore his labrum in his Monday press conference.

“Zimmer said ‘no’ when asked if Cook tore his labrum during his press conference and that he was ‘not going to say’ whether Cook dislocated it. Zimmer was also asked if Cook has a chance of playing against the Lions this week,” Pro Football Talk‘s Josh Alper reported.

Zimmer added in his press conference that he’s been told Cook is “day-to-day.” Cook remaining on the active roster indicates that he may not need an injured reserve designation that would require him to miss a minimum of three weeks.

Vikings RB Depth

With the potential Dalvin Cook out of the starting lineup, the Vikings will rely on Alexander Mattison taking on the lions’ share running back duties.

Mattison has proven to be a reliable replacement for Cook. In his past two starts, Mattison tallied 225 rushing yards, 99 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Fourth-round pick Kene Nwangwu (Iowa State) will be in line to backup Mattison this week against the Lions. Nwangwu has flashed his explosiveness as one of the fastest running backs in the league. He’s returned a pair of kickoff return touchdowns this season after returning in Week 8 from a hamstring injury. Nwangwu took his first career carry for seven yards last week.

A star in the preseason, practice-squad running back A.J. Rose Jr. could be in line for his first career NFL regular-season game. Rose, undrafted out of Kentucky, earned a spot on the Vikings’ practice squad after an impressive preseason performance. He took 25 carries for 100 yards against the Denver Broncos and scored twice against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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