Report: Injured Dalvin Cook to Play for Vikings vs. Steelers Despite Shoulder Injury

Erin WalshDecember 9, 2021

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 28: Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook reportedly will be in the lineup Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Cook will play with a brace on his injured shoulder. 

 NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Cook is trending toward playing after suffering a dislocated shoulder against the San Francisco 49ers less than two weeks ago. Cook reportedly has gotten first-team reps in practice and "wants to give it a go" Thursday.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler later reported that Cook "will play barring pregame setback."

Jeremy Fowler @JFowlerESPN

Source said Cook has passed tests on his shoulder and will play barring pregame setback. Incredibly quick turn from dislocated shoulder. <a href="https://t.co/ygr9XGJzfx">https://t.co/ygr9XGJzfx</a>

Pelissero also reported that while the Vikes initially didn't expect Cook back until Dec. 20 against the Chicago Bears, Cook underwent "intense" rehab to regain strength and range of motion in his shoulder.

In addition to the shoulder keeping him out this week, an ankle injury cost Cook two games earlier this season.

Cook has struggled with injuries dating back to his rookie season. He appeared in just four games during the 2017 campaign before tearing his ACL, and he missed five games in 2018 with a hamstring injury. He also missed two games in 2019 with a shoulder ailment. 

When healthy, Cook is dominant. In nine games this season, he has rushed for 773 yards and four touchdowns, in addition to 27 catches for 202 yards. 

He was also fantastic last season, rushing for 1,557 yards and 16 touchdowns in 14 games.

When Cook is sidelined, Minnesota relies on Alexander Mattison, who is also highly talented. He has rushed for 405 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games this year, including 90 yards and a touchdown in a start against the Detroit Lions last week.

Mattison will get the start against Pittsburgh if something changes with Cook's status, but if Cook does indeed play, he will likely be the bell-cow back as usual.

Cook potentially playing is significant since the Vikings will be without one of their top offensive weapons in Thielen (ankle) and are one game out of a playoff spot in the NFC.