After insisting he’d play, running back Dalvin Cook backpedaled Tuesday and said his injured hamstring will require a game-day decision. The Vikings have listed him questionable to play Thursday night against the undefeated Rams in Los Angeles.
Cook was injured in overtime of the Sept. 16 tie at Green Bay. If he can’t play or is limited, the Vikings will again lean on running back Latavius Murray, who had 95 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings’ win against the Rams last season.
Three more Vikings were listed questionable in left tackle Riley Reiff (foot), defensive tackle Tom Johnson (ankle) and safety Anthony Harris (hamstring). Reiff is dealing with a foot injury that kept him from practicing on this short week after his poor play in Sunday’s loss to the Bills. If Reiff can’t play, the Vikings will likely start Rashod Hill at left tackle and rookie Brian O’Neill at right tackle.
Defensive end Everson Griffen (knee/not injury related) and punt returner Marcus Sherels (ribs) have been ruled out. Griffen did not travel with the team to Los Angeles after undergoing a mental health evaluation. Local police responded twice Saturday to incidents involving Griffen’s alleged erratic behavior that had worried team officials prior to last weekend.
The Vikings (1-1-1) have more to overcome than the undefeated Rams (3-0) and injuries. Coming off an embarrassing loss to the Bills, the Vikings are playing after the third-longest flight on a short week by any NFL team since the league expanded Thursday Night Football to 13 games per season in 2012.
Head coach Mike Zimmer has a legitimate gripe with NFL schedule makers since this is the fifth straight season in his tenure the Vikings are forced to play a road game on a short week. They’re 1-3 playing on short weeks heading into Thursday night in L.A.
The Rams will be without cornerback Aqib Talib, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday and is set to undergo ankle surgery on Thursday. Rams cornerback Marcus Peters (calf) is listed questionable to play against the Vikings.
The Vikings’ injury report: Griffen (knee/not injury related) and Sherels (ribs) are out; Reiff (foot), Cook (hamstring), Johnson (ankle) and Harris (hamstring) are questionable.
The Rams’ injury report: K Greg Zuerlein (groin) and WR JoJo Natson (hand) are out; LB Mark Barron (ankle) is doubtful; LB Dominique Easley (knee) and Peters (calf) are questionable.