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Dalvin Cook Could Play Through Shoulder Injury, Per Vikings' Mike Zimmer

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 15: Running back Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball in the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 15, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook could be ready to go for the team's critical showdown against the Green Bay Packers next Monday night, according to his head coach Mike Zimmer:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

#Vikings coach Mike Zimmer tells reporters that star RB Dalvin Cook’s shoulder injury is one Cook could play through and that “it feels good today."

Minnesota Vikings @Vikings

“It’s too early, but the extra day helps. We’ll just have to see how the week goes.” - Coach Zimmer on if @dalvincook can handle a full workload on Monday night

Cook has been awesome in 2019, rushing for 1,135 yards and 13 scores, adding 53 receptions for 519 yards. But his status going forward this season was called into question Sunday when Cook left the team's 39-10 win in the third quarter over the Los Angeles Chargers with a shoulder injury.

Injuries have become a regular storyline in Cook's young career. The 24-year-old was a second-round pick of the Vikings in the 2019 NFL draft (41st overall) but played in just four games after tearing his ACL. A hamstring injury then cost him five games in the 2018 campaign.

There were signs that Cook could be an impact running back, however. In his first 15 games he rushed for 969 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He's more than lived up to that potential this season.

Having him in action against Green Bay would be crucial, with the NFC North title on the line. The Vikings (10-4) are a game behind the Packers (11-3) and still have the chance to win the division. It may be a long shot—Minnesota lost the first matchup between the teams and the Packers currently have a better divisional record (4-0) than the Vikings (2-2).

That means the Vikings not only need to win out to take the division, they also need the Packers to lose their final two games. If the two teams finish the season with the same record, Green Bay will win the tiebreaker with a better divisional record.

If Cook is forced to miss action, expect Mike Boone to get the majority of the reps at tailback, with C.J. Ham another possibility. The Vikings could also look to add a player in free agency, though it sounds as though Cook will be good to go.