Injuries are starting to pop up for the Vikings, who are now three weeks into a season that began with great health.
Star running back Dalvin Cook hurt his shoulder during Sunday's victory over the Lions, and it's unclear if he'll play against the Saints in London. Edge rusher Za'Darius Smith is also banged up after hurting his knee in the game.
"We’ll take it a day at a time," Kevin O'Connell said of Cook's status. "Kind of just see where he’s at throughout the week. I know he’s feeling better and better, and (medical leaders) Tyler (Williams) and Uriah (Myrie) are doing a great job, a lot of treatment just to try to get him to a place where we can get him some work, and then ultimately give him a chance to get out there and feel good on Sunday."
Cook himself called it a "day to day grind." He's dealing with a partial dislocation of his shoulder, which he's familiar with from previous shoulder issues in his career. "It's not really a painful thing," he said. "It's just more of being smart about how I get through this thing."
If Cook can't play, Alexander Mattison would get the start at running back.
As for Smith, he's also day to day as the London game approaches.
"He came out of the game a little sore," O'Connell said. "But we’re kind of along the same timeline with Za’Darius as Dalvin, just kind of day-to-day. The guy’s played a lot of ball for us early on in the year, expecting him to just go through the week and process, knowing we’ve got a lengthy travel on Thursday — there will be a lot of opportunities both on the flight and then obviously when we get there to continue treatment and try to get him ready to go."
Fullback C.J. Ham (foot) also missed Wednesday's practice, as did rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (quad). Those are two others to monitor as the week progresses. In good news, Harrison Smith is back and good to go after missing the Lions game with a concussion.
The Saints are dealing with even more injury concerns than the Vikings are. They were without five offensive starters — QB Jameis Winston, WRs Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, RT Ryan Ramczyk, and LG Andrus Peat — at their practice in London on Wednesday.
That's all very much worth watching this week. Andy Dalton would start at quarterback if Winston is unable to play.
Here's the full report from Wednesday:
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