The Vikings offense gets a boost Sunday against the Browns as running back Dalvin Cook is active and expected to start. Cook missed one game due to a sprained right ankle suffered Sept. 19 in Arizona, but returned to practice this week.
The Vikings defense avoided another scare, as they'll have nose tackle Michael Pierce, who was listed questionable after injuring his elbow and shoulder during Thursday's practice, according to coach Mike Zimmer. Pierce's presence will be big against the Browns' rushing attack, which leads the league with eight rushing touchdowns in three games.
Linebacker Anthony Barr remains sidelined after practicing for a second straight week. He wasn't seen doing any rehab work before the game, and he's officially among the Vikings' inactives against Cleveland.
Rookie first-round tackle Christian Darrisaw is active for the first time. He's healthy enough to play following an Aug. 12 operation to repair a lingering core muscle injury, but he'll be in a reserve role as coaches "build him up the right way," coordinator Klint Kubiak said this week. Darrisaw did not play in the preseason, and hadn't fully participated in a padded practice with the Vikings until this week. Rashod Hill continues to start at left tackle.
Corner Kris Boyd will not play due to a hamstring injury, leaving Cameron Dantzler as the top backup at corner. Receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette was ruled out after being held out of practices this week due to a toe injury suffered against the Seahawks. Running back Ameer Abdullah is expected to handle kick return duties against the Browns.
On Saturday, the Vikings elevated guard Dakota Dozier and corner Parry Nickerson from the practice squad to the gameday roster.
Vikings' inactives: Barr (knee), Boyd (hamstring), Smith-Marsette (toe), QB Kellen Mond, G Wyatt Davis, DT James Lynch, and DE Patrick Jones
Browns' inactives: CB Greg Newsome (calf), T Chris Hubbard (triceps), DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, G Michael Dunn, and DT Tommy Togiai
Cleveland will be without Newsome, the first-round rookie corner, due to an injury suffered last week against the Bears. Veteran corner Troy Hill and third-year corner Greedy Williams are expected to play bigger roles against the Vikings.
The Browns offensive line will have starting center J.C. Tretter and tackle Jedrick Wills. Both were listed questionable after missing some practice due to injuries. Backup tackle Chris Hubbard is inactive.