After Dalvin Cook assuaged any lingering concerns about his hamstring with a 70-yard run against the Lions on Nov. 4, he appears ready to return to a full workload against the Bears.
Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said Thursday he considers Cook to be “full-go” heading into Sunday night’s game, and Cook sounded confident he’d be ready for a regular night of work after playing 28 of the Vikings’ 49 snaps against the Lions before the team’s bye week.
“I’m ready to go. I’m fired up,” Cook said. “It’s a big week, and for me to be out there, I’m just happy to be out there. We’re going to see if I’m 100 percent, but with my body, I feel great. So yeah, I’m there.”
Cook touched the ball on half of his plays against the Lions, finishing with 109 yards from scrimmage on 14 combined rushing and receiving attempts. The Vikings will likely use him in tandem with Latavius Murray, but Cook figures to be a significant part of the offense after showing he was healthy against the Lions.
“Around this time last year, I was on the couch [after a torn ACL], watching my team compete, wishing I could be out here,” he said. “Now [that] I’m out here, I’ve got to take full advantage of it.”
Return of Abdullah?
Running back Ameer Abdullah, whom the Vikings claimed on waivers from the Lions on Nov. 7, joins a crowded backfield now that Cook is back to a normal workload. But if Abdullah is active against Chicago, he could make an immediate impact as a kick returner.
“We have to wait and see if he’s going to be active or not,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “But if we had his services available, I would love to use him as a kickoff returner. He’d fit right in to what we want at that position. The big thing for Ameer is obviously ball security. That’s one of the issues he’s had in the past. And I don’t think it’s been a major issue for him, but like any young returner, you’ve got to really emphasize how important that ball security is.”
Priefer said the Vikings had Abdullah rated as their top kick returner when he was coming out of Nebraska for the 2015 draft, and Abdullah led the league with 1,077 return yards — joining Percy Harvin as the only two return men since 1994 to post a runback of 104 yards or more without scoring a touchdown — during his rookie season with the Lions.
“I talked to [assistant general manager] George Paton about it, and they obviously knew how I felt,” Priefer said. “George went back and looked at my ranking before he even came and talked to me. Before we had our discussion, he looked back at the comments and ranking I had on him when he was coming out of Nebraska and obviously, that was a big sell for our guys. He brings a lot to the table as an athlete, and we might use him on other phases [of special teams], for that matter.”
Linebacker Anthony Barr practiced Thursday for the first time since Oct. 19, after missing the team’s past two games because of a hamstring injury. Barr was limited in his return, going through position drills during the portion of practice open to reporters.
Safety Andrew Sendejo, who has missed the Vikings’ past four games because of a groin injury, did not practice. Tight end David Morgan remained out because of a knee injury.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who said Thursday he’d be back from a rib injury for the Bears game, was a full participant for the second consecutive day. Adam Thielen remained limited because of low back and calf injuries.