The Vikings will be without tight end Irv Smith Jr. for the third time in four weeks, and won’t have defensive end D.J. Wonnum, for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.
Smith did not practice on Friday and was ruled out with a back injury. He left the game against the Lions because of a groin injury he had examined on the sideline after celebrating his second touchdown of the game, and missed the Bears game with the same injury before catching two passes against the Cowboys. Smith was ruled out with groin and back injuries last week vs. the Panthers.
Wonnum, who had posted two sacks among his seven quarterback hits in November and blocked a field goal last week against the Panthers, is out because of ankle and back injuries.
The Vikings should get right guard Ezra Cleveland back after he missed the past two games because of an ankle injury; Cleveland was a full participant in practice on Friday, and coach Mike Zimmer said the rookie has had no setbacks this week.
“He should be all systems go,” Zimmer said.
Neither linebacker Eric Kendricks (calf) nor running back Dalvin Cook (ankle) carried injury designations on the Vikings’ final report of the week, indicating both are ready for Sunday’s game.
Cook named NFC offensive player of the month
Cook won his first NFC offensive player of the month award Friday, following a five-game stretch in which he scored seven touchdowns and posted a franchise-record 832 yards from scrimmage in November.
Cook began the month by becoming the first player in Lambeau Field’s 64 seasons to post more than 200 yards from scrimmage and score four touchdowns in a game, and he continued it with his first 200-yard rushing day the following week against the Lions. Cook won back-to-back NFC offensive player of the week awards for those games, becoming the first player to win the honor in two consecutive weeks since quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick did it for the Buccaneers during the first two weeks of the 2018 season.
The Vikings leaned heavily on Cook during their 4-1 stretch in November, putting the ball in his hands more than 30 times in three of those games. No other NFL running back has three games with 30 or more touches this season.
His 832 yards from scrimmage in November were the most by any NFL player last month and the fourth-most by any player during the month in league history.
Myles Jack a challenge
After taking Anthony Barr in the first round of the 2014 draft and selecting Kendricks in the second round the following year, the Vikings considered adding a third UCLA linebacker with Myles Jack in the 2016 draft. They ultimately took Laquon Treadwell with the 23rd overall pick, and Jack went to the Jaguars early in the second round.
He has turned into a solid piece of the Jacksonville defense, with 74 combined tackles, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble this season. His work as one of the NFL’s best run-stopping linebackers means the Vikings will have to account for him.
“We honestly really liked him coming out of UCLA,” Zimmer said. “He’s a very athletic linebacker that’s got a lot of physicalness to him. I think they were playing him in a couple different spots earlier in his career — you know, you keep an eye on these guys — but he’s played really well. He’s a very good leader for them, he runs to the ball really well, good [physicality] and does a good job in coverage.”
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