DENVER – While the Vikings remain confident in running back Dalvin Cook’s return from a torn ACL in his left knee, they’ll wait at least one more week to put him back on the field.
The Vikings opted to hold Cook out of their preseason opener against the Broncos on Saturday night, sitting him out along with four other projected starters.
Guard Mike Remmers, who is nursing an ankle injury, did not play, and center Pat Elflein remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list following offseason ankle and shoulder surgeries.
Defensive tackle Linval Joseph did not dress after wearing a brace on his elbow this week, and the Vikings kept linebacker Anthony Barr out after he missed two practices this week with an undisclosed injury.
Injured wide receivers Tavarres King and Brandon Zylstra did not dress; Zylstra is dealing with a hamstring injury that is believed to be minor. Guard Colby Gossett and safety Jayron Kearse also sat out.
It remains to be seen whether the Vikings will use Cook in the preseason, though it’s worth noting the team’s athletic training staff is the same as the one that guided Adrian Peterson back from knee surgery and on the way to NFL MVP honors in 2012. Peterson didn’t play in the preseason that year (though his torn ACL came on Dec. 24, while Cook’s was on Oct. 1).
Cook also will have the benefit of two joint practices with the Jaguars this week, which provide him an opportunity to get work against a stout defense without any live tackling.
With Cook out, the Vikings gave first-team work to Latavius Murray, who led the team in rushing a year ago after his workload increased following Cook’s injury.
The Vikings started Tom Compton at left guard in place of Nick Easton, headed to injured reserve after having surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck. Cornelius Edison started at center for Elflein, and Danny Isidora got the start at right guard for Remmers.
Second-year man Jaleel Johnson started at nose tackle in place of Joseph, and linebacker Antwione Williams started in place of Barr.
Collins gets his chance
The Vikings’ injuries on the offensive line provided a chance for Aviante Collins — whom the team signed as an undrafted free agent before the 2017 season — to make a strong first impression in his bid to secure a spot on the 53-man roster for the second consecutive year.
Collins was listed as the second-string left tackle on the team’s initial depth chart.
The TCU product, who is the son of renowned sprinter and track and field coach Bill Collins, has impressed the Vikings with his own athletic ability.
“ ‘AC’ is very athletic; big guy, has some power, good feet, has some nasty streak,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “I have to talk about it to him once in a while — ‘Don’t be doing this or don’t be doing that.’ ”