Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott expects to return to the lineup Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings after recovering from a knee injury.
"I’m definitely very optimistic about this week. Barring any setbacks the next couple of days, I’m feeling good…I think I’m in a good spot," Elliott told reporters Thursday.
Elliott has missed the last two games and will wear a knee brace against the Vikings.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Thursday that the veteran running back "had a really good day yesterday. … [Excited] to see how much he does today. He looks good."
However, it's unclear what kind of workload Elliott will see against Minnesota.
Backup running back Tony Pollard is having an impressive 2022, rushing for 621 yards and six touchdowns on 103 carries in nine games. In Elliott's absence, he rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns against the Chicago Bears in Week 8 and rushed for 115 yards and one score in Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers.
Elliott, who hasn't played since a Week 7 win over the Detroit Lions, has rushed for 443 yards and four touchdowns on 109 carries in seven games.
With Pollard on a roll and averaging 6.0 yards per attempt compared to Elliott's 4.1, it's reasonable to believe the former will see a heavier workload against the Vikings on Sunday.
Additionally, the Cowboys will face the New York Giants in an NFC East showdown just four days after Sunday's matchup against the Vikings, so Elliott's snap count could be reduced on a short week to prevent further injury.
The Cowboys enter Sunday's game with a 6-3 record. They are third in the division behind the 7-2 Giants and 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles.