Vikings superstar running back Dalvin Cook is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Seahawks after barely doing anything in practice this week with an ankle injury. But read between the lines of the team's Saturday roster moves and you get the sense that they're confident Cook will tough it out in a must-win game for Minnesota.
Sunday update: Cook is unlikely to play, per multiple reports.
The Vikings signed running back Ameer Abdullah to the active roster, waiving tackle Blake Brandel (who will presumably take Abdullah's place on the practice squad next week). They used their two standard elevations from the PS on guard Dakota Dozier and cornerback Parry Nickerson.
What's most notable is who the Vikings didn't elevate: rookie RB A.J. Rose Jr., who was a preseason standout. If they didn't think Cook would play, you'd imagine Rose would've been elevated to give them a third running back. Now, if Cook doesn't go, they'd be down to just Alexander Mattison and Abdullah at RB. If one of those two were to get hurt, Minnesota would have to turn to fullback C.J. Ham as the emergency backup RB.
You get the idea. Teams almost always like to have three running backs available — and let their fullback play fullback — because the position lends itself to injuries. Thus, it seems that not elevating Rose is good news for Cook's status.
With Brandel being waived, Dozier will step in as the Vikings' third available backup offensive lineman, joining Mason Cole and Wyatt Davis. All three are guards, so the Vikings might have to kick one of their starting guards out to tackle in the event that Rashod Hill or Brian O'Neill have to leave the game. Both Ezra Cleveland and Oli Udoh are former tackles who are playing guard for the Vikings.
Elevating the veteran Nickerson gives the Vikings a backup slot corner if Mackensie Alexander were to get hurt. Harrison Hand is out for a second straight game with a hamstring injury. Nickerson can also play on special teams.
Kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. central time from U.S. Bank Stadium.
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