Vikings need to hold Dalvin Cook out through bye week

Minnesota Vikings

If Dalvin Cook isn’t 100 percent healthy, and it seem he’s not, the Minnesota Vikings have to hold him out through their bye week.

Since suffering a hamstring injury late in Week 2, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has 10 carries in one game (Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams), during which it appears clear he suffered a setback. Heading into Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals, the idea of returning on a limited snap count was reported before he was made inactive.

It appeared certain Cook would miss a couple more games in Week 8 and Week 9, then return after Minnesota’s Week 10 bye. But according to Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Vikings plan to have Cook active for limited snaps against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

That also appeared to be the plan three weeks ago, before Cook was ultimately unable to go. He returned to limited practice Wednesday and Thursday this week, and said he feels great while acknowledging practice isn’t the same as ramping up on a game day.

Cook himself has expressed the concerns about trying to push it with a bad hamstring. Having him on the field for a handful of snaps is better than not having him at all, in a certain light, but the Vikings’ running game has been in good hands.

Over the last three games, Latavius Murray has scored four touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. While he’s not the dual threat Cook can be, Murray also has eight receptions on 10 targets over those three games.

The Lions have the NFL’s worst run defense by a nose, allowing 144.6 yard per game, and they’re allowing 5.1 yards per attempt too (tied for second-worst in the league). Cook at full capacity would help the Vikings exploit that. But since he’s not, all he’d be doing is taking snaps from a fully healthy Murray while exposing himself to another setback.

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It’s worth noting Cook’s 2017 rookie season ended with a torn ACL at home against the Lions, and he’d surely love to play on Sunday in the proverbial rematch. Last week’s loss to the New Orleans Saints may also be pushing the Vikings to have all hands on deck. But eventually, logic has to prevail, and Cook should be in street clothes come kickoff on Sunday.

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