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With Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison both missing practice for a second straight day, it's becoming more and more apparent that Mike Boone will make his first career start against the Packers on Monday Night Football.

It would be very surprising if either Cook (shoulder, chest) or Mattison (ankle) are active on Monday night. Adam Schefter reported on Thursday that Cook was unlikely to play, and that the Vikings are leaning towards shutting him down for the final two games of the regular season as he deals with two different upper-body injuries.

Mattison suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Lions two weeks ago, and is almost certainly going to miss a second straight game as a result.

Enter Boone. The former undrafted free agent stepped up with both Cook and Mattison out in the second half of last week's win against the Chargers, and ran for 56 yards and two touchdowns. He's been a star in the last two preseasons, running for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns and making big plays as a receiver, as well.

Boone isn't your average third-string running back. His burst, vision, and athleticism in the open field make him a big-play threat whenever he touches the ball. NFL defenses look a lot different in the regular season than they do in the preseason, but Boone's performance last week suggests he won't be fazed. There's a reason why the Vikings were willing to do the uncommon move of keeping four running backs and a fullback on their 53-man roster.

Boone has taken advantage of every opportunity he's had in his NFL career thus far. He's shined in the preseason, impressed in practice, and embraced a role on special teams that has helped him stick around. He's run hard in limited regular season opportunities. Now comes his first NFL start, and there's little reason to believe he won't be ready for that, too.

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"We have a lot of confidence in Mike," Mike Zimmer said on Thursday.

The Vikings don't need to change their gameplan with Boone replacing Cook. He's a capable pass-blocker and receiver who knows how to follow blocks and make people miss at the second level.

"I think week-to-week what we do is put a game plan specific attack for that defense and I think that’s no different this week, whether you’re talking run or pass," offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski said. "We have a plan to attack these guys, like we talked about, maybe have to adjust based on how they’re playing you, but regardless of who’s in there, our guys are ready to enact that plan."

Fa Packers team that gave up over seven yards per carry to the Vikings in Week 2, this is a huge opportunity for Boone. With the Packers likely to line up their edge rushers wide again to try to take away Kirk Cousins' bootlegs, the Vikings will turn to Boone to counter that strategy.

Just because he's a third-stringer, don't count Boone out as someone who could help lead the Vikings to a win (and help win some fantasy football championships) with a big night on Monday.