Vikings running back Dalvin Cook said Monday he’s unsure if he’ll practice this week, which is his seventh week dealing with a lingering hamstring injury suffered Sept. 16 in Green Bay.
Cook missed his fifth game of the season Sunday night, the Vikings’ 30-20 loss to the Saints. He had practiced on and off before last week, when the Vikings held him out to give his leg more time to heal.
Cook said his hamstring is “feeling great,” but that he’s wary of setbacks like what appeared to happen in the Sept. 27 loss in Los Angeles when he played 10 days after the initial injury.
“[Rest] definitely helped me, but that’s the tricky thing about these things,” Cook said. “They feel good, but you go out there, overextend and do something stupid; set you back.”
If rest is best for Cook, the Vikings could possibly sit him through this week against the Lions and aim at a Week 11 return after the upcoming bye. Cook has 205 yards from scrimmage in three games this season.
Coach Mike Zimmer said he came away “encouraged” aside from the offense’s two critical turnovers. The defense held the Saints to a season-low 17 first downs, however communication was an issue at times due to the home crowd noise, according to Zimmer. Linebacker Eric Kendricks took over relaying the defensive play calls with linebacker Anthony Barr sidelined by injury.
“Especially in the beginning, Eric had a hard time,” Zimmer said. “The headsets went out a couple times. But hey, that’s part of it. We’d rather have it loud.”
Barr on the mend
Barr said “we’ll see” when asked Monday if he was close to returning from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss his first game since 2015 on Sunday night. Barr, who was injured in the Oct. 21 win in New York, was complimentary of how the Vikings defense played without him.
“I thought the defense played great,” Barr said. “One of the better performances of the season against a high-powered offense. I thought they did a very good job.”
Young LBs get snaps
Two Vikings linebackers, Ben Gedeon and Eric Wilson, saw their workloads increase without Barr in the lineup. Gedeon got his third start of the season, but his first as a nickel linebacker alongside Kendricks. Defenders emerged from the loss saying they felt good about their performances, but Wilson, who was beaten to the edge on Alvin Kamara’s 3-yard touchdown catch, admitted to some mistakes on special teams.
“The few plays I had on special teams, I could’ve done better,” Wilson said. “I think as a team we all have stuff to work on.”
Bailey’s rare miss
Kicker Dan Bailey missed his third extra point of his eight-year career against the Saints, and his first with the Vikings. Bailey’s kick sailed just outside the left upright in the second quarter. He made the other two extra points on Sunday night and is now 297 of 300 on one-point tries since entering the league in 2011.
“I’m surprised as well,” Bailey said. “It’s just a matter of putting a better hit on the ball and making sure everything is all set as far as the operation goes.”
Elflein standing out
Center Pat Elflein had a couple of key blocks to spring running back Latavius Murray for big gains, which stood out to Zimmer. Elflein was also called for holding and had a bad shotgun snap in the first half.
“Pat’s done a nice job all year,” Zimmer said. “He does a really good job of getting the guy turned, getting his hips in the right place and getting up to the next level.”