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Mike Boone, Ameer Abdullah's Fantasy Outlook After Dalvin Cook Shoulder Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2019

Minnesota Vikings running back Mike Boone gets set for a play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

While the Minnesota Vikings are in ideal playoff position and still have a chance at the NFC North title, all is not well heading into the stretch run.

The Vikings announced running back Dalvin Cook was ruled out for the remainder of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers with a shoulder injury.

That is a worrisome reality for both Minnesota and fantasy players relying on the star back during their playoff matchups. Minnesota was also without No. 1 backup Alexander Mattison, who was inactive with an ankle injury after he was solid last time out with 64 yards from scrimmage in a win over the Detroit Lions.

That left the Vikings with Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone, which is not exactly fantasy gold.

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There was a time when Abdullah was a weapon in fantasy formats. As a rookie with the Detroit Lions in 2015, he tallied 597 rushing yards, 183 receiving yards and three total touchdowns. He was also solid in his third season with 552 rushing yards, 162 receiving yards and five total touchdowns.

However, he has been nowhere near that productive with the Vikings.

The University of Nebraska product didn't have a single carry in seven games with the team last season and posted a whopping eight carries and six catches in 13 games this year prior to Sunday's contest. What's more, he took a backseat to Boone in the immediate aftermath of Cook's injury against the Chargers.

Even wide receivers Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Bisi Johnson had carries before Abdullah on Sunday.

Boone helped ice the game with a touchdown run in the fourth quarter, seemingly solidifying himself as the go-to option with Cook sidelined. Still, even the undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati had just 11 carries as a rookie last season and a mere eight carries in his previous 13 games this season.

There is nothing to trust in terms of a track record, but those looking for a Week 16 sleeper if Cook is still out can take solace knowing Football Outsiders ranks the Vikings offensive line as the fifth-best run-blocking unit in the league.

That group cleared the way for Boone on Sunday and will look to do so again next week against the Green Bay Packers.

Fantasy players should avoid Abdullah but at least take a flier on Boone if they are desperate at the running back position because of late-season injuries.