Vikings superstar running back Dalvin Cook, who was carted off the field in the third quarter of Sunday's loss to the 49ers, has a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum, according to multiple reports. Cook got an MRI on Monday morning.
Cook apparently was already playing with a torn labrum on one side of his body, and now he has torn the other as well. But as painful as that may sound, there's currently no indication that this could be a season-ending injury.
Back in 2019, Cook injured his shoulder in Week 15 and missed the final two games of the regular season. He was able to return in time to play against the Saints in the first round of the playoffs, where he turned 31 touches into 130 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
It's safe to say Cook will miss at least the Vikings' next two games, against the winless Lions on Sunday and at home against the Steelers the following Thursday night. If his recovery follows a similar timeline to 2019, it's possible Cook could return three weeks from now when the Vikings take on the Bears on Monday Night Football in Week 15.
Whether or not the Vikings end up placing Cook on injured reserve will be a good indication of how much time they expect him to miss. If, after discussing with their medical staff, they think he's got a solid chance to play in that Bears game, they presumably won't place him on IR. If they think a return against the Rams, Packers, or Bears in the final three weeks of the regular season is more realistic, a stint on IR make sense to create a roster spot while he's out. Going on IR requires missing three games.
We'll see. Either way, this is relatively good news considering many feared Cook's season was over when he was tearfully carted off the field in Santa Clara.
While Cook is out, the Vikings will turn to Alexander Mattison as their lead back. Mattison has started two games in Cook's absence this year and been productive in both. The Vikings also have Kene Nwangwu — who returned another kickoff for a touchdown against the 49ers — as a change-of-pace option, and they could potentially elevate preseason standout A.J. Rose Jr. from the practice squad.
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