Running back Dalvin Cook said Wednesday his lingering shoulder injury, suffered Nov. 17 against the Broncos and reaggravated twice during fumbles Monday night in the Vikings’ 37-30 loss in Seattle, is a matter of pain tolerance because “I don’t think this thing can get any worse.”
“I’ve missed enough time before,” Cook said, “so I’m trying to be on the field.”
Cook, whose 271 touches in 12 games trail only Carolina’s Christian McCaffery and Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette, was a limited participant in the Vikings’ estimated injury report Wednesday, when the team held a shortened walk-through.
If Cook plays Sunday against the Lions, will he be on a snap count? Rookie Alexander Mattison is an effective replacement, chipping in 73 yards on eight touches in Seattle.
“We’ll see how it goes during the week and then make a decision,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “We’re not going to play a guy that’s hurt.”
Limiting contact during the week’s practices is the plan, according to Cook, who said he’ll primarily work on gripping the ball through the pain in his right shoulder.
Beyond that, Cook said his approach is simple.
“Don’t think about it,” said Cook, who had 142 rushing yards against the Lions on Oct. 20. “I’ve played through a broken rib. I’ve played through a lot of stuff. It’s just the area that it’s in is just so different for me. I do a lot of blocking. That comes with the position, the physical part. It’s just getting used to it and adapting to it on the fly.”
‘Not a rookie anymore’
Running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu tells Mattison, the third-round pick out of Boise State, he’s “not a rookie anymore” in the second half of this season. Mattison has looked like a veteran with the ball in his hands while averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
Mattison’s role could increase as the Vikings manage Cook’s injury.
“I’m just excited to contribute anyway I can,” Mattison said. “If that’s the case, yeah, but I’m just excited to be a part of this.”
The Vikings held a shortened walk-through Wednesday afternoon in lieu of a full practice less than two days after the loss in Seattle. In an estimated injury report for a full practice, the Vikings listed three players — receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring), nose tackle Linval Joseph (knee) and left tackle Riley Reiff (concussion) — as sidelined.
Limited were Cook, safety Harrison Smith (hamstring), defensive end Everson Griffen (knee), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee) and linebacker Eric Wilson (shoulder).
Won’t be overlooked
The Lions (3-8-1) are losers of five straight games and one of just six NFL teams already eliminated from playoff contention. Asked if he’s making sure teammates aren’t overlooking Detroit, quarterback Kirk Cousins sent a strong message based on what’s happened at U.S. Bank Stadium against inferior teams in the recent past.
“You’d have to be pretty immature to overlook them,” said Cousins, who added they “barely” beat the Lions on Oct. 20. “Just think of what happened against the Broncos at home, what happened against the Bills last year.”
Cousins added he’s looking forward to seeing former Vikings’ third-string quarterback Kyle Sloter, whom the Lions claimed off the Cardinals practice squad after putting quarterback Jeff Driskel on injured reserve. Sloter is expected to be Detroit’s No. 2 quarterback behind David Blough on Sunday against the Vikings.
“We both spend a lot of time in Atlanta in the offseason, so wherever he’s playing I still expect to be seeing him and throwing together at the local high school,” Cousins said. “I wish him all the best in his career. It’ll be great to see him.”