Dalvin Cook

North Notes: Vikings, Conner, JuJu, Lions

The 2017 draft class will become extension-eligible in January, and Dalvin Cook‘s contract figures to be one the key talking points once the calendar flips to the 2020 offseason. The Vikings are one of the few teams to have paid a running back top-market money, via Adrian Peterson‘s $14.4MM-AAV pact from 2011. With Cook’s contract not containing a fifth-year option like Christian McCaffrey‘s does, the Vikings will likely have to address his deal sooner than the Panthers will need to negotiate with their All-Pro candidate. Ezekiel Elliott‘s $15MM-per-year deal represents the new running back benchmark. Although Cook has been injury-prone, he will surely seek a contract in the Elliott-Todd GurleyLe’Veon BellDavid Johnson tax bracket (north of $13MM annually).

Running backs are valuable,” Cook said, via ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin. “For guys to get rewarded for how physical, how much they get their bodies ready each and every week to go take that pounding, guys [are] getting rewarded for that. The running back value kind of went down, but I think we’re just as valuable as any position.”

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Adam Thielen will not play Sunday night. The Vikings ruled out their highest-paid wide receiver for Week 10’s Cowboys contest. Thielen has dealt with this hamstring injury since Week 7, missing Minnesota’s game against the Redskins and exiting last week’s Chiefs game after seven snaps.
  • One of Cook’s 2017 draft classmates, James Conner, will also need at least another week to recover from injury. The Steelers ruled out Conner for Week 10. They also added JuJu Smith-Schuster to this week’s injury report Friday. Pittsburgh’s top wideout is questionable to face the Rams with a toe injury.
  • Lions safety Miles Killebrew suffered a concussion during Thursday’s practice, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com notes. The Lions moved Killebrew to linebacker last year, but the trade of Quandre Diggs and Tracy Walker‘s knee injury prompted the team to shift Killebrew back to safety recently. UFA addition Tavon Wilson, third-round rookie Will Harris and rookie UDFA C.J. Moore are the Lions’ only healthy safeties. Killebrew and Walker are out for Sunday’s Bears tilt
  • The Lions’ two-year extension for Christian Jones features a short-term sacrifice for a 2020 payment. The deal reduces the linebacker’s 2019 salary from $2.45MM to the veteran minimum, which will be worth approximately $426K for the season’s remainder. In exchange, Jones will receive a $1.97MM signing bonus, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets. The through-2021 deal averages $2.92MM. Detroit tacked on a voidable 2022 year, in order to spread the bonus across three seasons instead of two.

North Notes: Bell, Browns, Green, Cook

The Le’Veon Bell saga is coming to a head, as the Steelers running back must sign his franchise tender by November 13 to be eligible to play for any team this season. But as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, the CBA does not dictate that Bell must report by that day, only that he sign the tender. That means that Bell could sign the tender and not report until next Saturday, which would make him eligible to be added to the roster for next Sunday’s game — not that he would be playing in that game regardless — or he could just not sign the tender at all and skip the entire season.

The latter option is not considered likely at this time, but La Canfora says that if Bell does skip the entire 2018 campaign, the Steelers would strongly consider slapping the franchise or transition tag on him next offseason, which would of course set up another drama-filled battle. La Canfora further reports that no rival clubs called Pittsburgh at last week’s trade deadline in an attempt to acquire Bell.

Now for more the league’s North divisions:

  • When the Browns have hired a new head coach in recent seasons, they have used a search firm, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) says he would be surprised if the team, with respected GM John Dorsey now in charge, goes that route when it looks for another HC this offseason. Rapoport’s sources expect Dorsey to conduct the search himself, and they expect that he will do so very “secretly.” Rapoport says one name under consideration would be Josh McDaniels, who is reportedly open to revisiting HC opportunities (should another one come his way), and RapSheet also lists John DeFilippo, Mike McCarthy, and Lincoln Riley as potential targets.
  • Bengals WR A.J. Green is battling a toe injury, per Rapoport (via Twitter), who says that Green either has visited or will visit foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson. There will be more clarity on the injury soon, and Rapoport says surgery remains on the table. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Green is expected to miss time regardless of whether he has surgery.
  • Vikings WR Stefon Diggs will miss today’s game with a rib injury, per Rapoport (video link), though it is uncertain whether Diggs will miss any additional time (given that he expected to play today and was listed as questionable on the final injury report, it seems that he’ll be ready to go after Minnesota’s bye next week. Meanwhile, RB Dalvin Cook is expected to hit the field today, which will mark his first appearance since Week 4. Cook will be on a pitch count and is only expected to see 20 snaps or so, but when the team returns from bye, it could have Cook and Diggs at full strength.
  • The Packers signed punter Drew Kaser yesterday, but the team is not moving on from incumbent J.K. Scott at this time, per ESPN.com. However, it is still an open question as to whether Scott will be punting against the Patriots tonight.
  • We learned earlier today that Ravens HC John Harbaugh is on the hot seat as the team faces a critical divisional matchup against Pittsburgh this afternoon.

Dalvin Cook To Return In Week 9?

The Vikings may have their preferred starting running back in action earlier than expected. Dalvin Cook is on track to play Sunday against the Lions, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

Cook’s been dealing with a hamstring injury for most of the season and hasn’t played since Week 4. While the Vikings having the 2017 second-rounder back would help their cause, Krammer adds he’s only expected to be used in a part-time capacity. A 15- to 20-snap workload should be anticipated for Cook.

Listed as questionable, Cook has struggled with this injury for weeks. The Vikings previously planned to play him against the Cardinals three weeks ago but nixed the idea after warmups. Cook’s only rushed for 98 yards (2.7 per carry) this season, and Latavius Murray‘s continued to be the Vikings’ primary back.

He was a limited practice participant throughout this week. Cook said (via the Associated Press) he didn’t experience a setback, missing practice for two weeks, instead calling this a slow-healing malady.

Minnesota has a Week 10 bye, but Mike Zimmer said the team isn’t interested in delaying a return until after that — as a previous report indicated would be the play — if Cook is healthy enough to contribute. Still, it sounds like Cook won’t be at full strength until after the bye at the earliest.

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Vikings RB Dalvin Cook Out Until Week 11?

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook could be sidelined through Minnesota’s Week 10 bye, sources tell Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com.

Cook originally injured his hamstring in Week 2 and missed the Vikings’ next game before returning in Week 4. However, Cook managed to play 18 offensive snaps in that Thursday night contest against the Rams, and hasn’t been on the field since. Cook, of course, missed the majority of his rookie season in 2017 after suffering a torn ACL.

If Cook can’t go until Week 11, he’ll miss two massively important games against the Saints and Lions. Veteran Latavius Murray, who has handled the load in Cook’s absence, would again take over as Minnesota’s starting running back. Over the past three weeks, Murray has rushed for 266 yards while averaging 5.32 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns. Undrafted free agents Roc Thomas and Mike Boone will take a few snaps, but Murray will shoulder the majority of the work.

Cook, the 41st overall pick in 2017, had injury issues in college, as well, but was excellent in four games as the Vikings’ starter last season. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 74 rushes, scoring twice before that aforementioned ACL injury ended his season. Among running backs with fewer than 100 attempts, Cook ranked eighth in Football Outsiders’ DYAR, which measures value over replacement level.

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Vikings’ Dalvin Cook To Miss Game Vs. Jets

The Vikings will be without Dalvin Cook yet again when they face the Jets on Sunday, the team announced. That makes three absences in a row for the second-year pro. 

[RELATED: Vikings Re-Sign DT David Parry]

Cook suffered a torn ACL as a rookie missed the majority of his rookie campaign in 2017, but averaged 4.8 yards per carry before going down. So far this year, he hasn’t been all that productive in his three contests.

The Vikings are already well set at running back, so it’s unlikely that they’ll make a move before this weekend. Latavius Murray should continue in the lead role with support from Michael Boone, Roc Thomas, and fullback C.J. Ham.

With a record of 3-2-1, the Vikings are tied for second in the NFC North with the Packers. A Vikings win coupled with Bears (vs. Patriots) and Packers (@ Rams) losses would vault them to the divisional lead.

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TNF Notes: Vikings, Cook, Rams, Peters

Let’s take a look at a few notes on the Vikings and Rams before tonight’s tilt:

  • Running back Dalvin Cook didn’t play in Week 3 when the Vikings lost to the Bills, but he’s expected to suit up tonight, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Cook is dealing with a hamstring injury, and Minnesota coaches plan to use caution by examining his during pre-game warmups. After taking part in today’s walkthrough, Cook will be on a pitch count against the Rams. That means backup Latavius Murray, who filled in for Cook last week, could see work against Los Angeles’ vaunted defensive line. Cook, of course, suffered a torn ACL and missed the majority of his rookie campaign in 2017, but did average 4.8 yards per carry before going down.
  • Cook isn’t the only injured player who will be active for tonight’s contest, as Rams cornerback Marcus Peters will be avaialable despite reports he would miss time with a calf strain, tweets Steve Wyche of NFL.com. Peters was expected to miss two-to-four weeks, a devastating loss especially given that fellow Los Angeles defensive back Aqib Talib was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Instead, Peters will take the field, giving the Rams at least some hope of stopping Vikings wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Like Cook, Peters could conceivably be on a snap limit, meaning Los Angeles will need to count on reserves like Sam Shields and Troy Hill.
  • After a bizarre weekend, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen will unsurprisingly be inactive for tonight’s game. He spent today finishing a mental health evaluation, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Griffen is expected to speak publicly about his situation in the near future. Police were called to Minneapolis hotel Saturday following reports Griffen was threatening to assault staff members, and Griffen later reportedly behaved erratically outside teammate Trae Waynes‘ home.

Vikings’ Dalvin Cook To Miss Time

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Bills, the team announced on Friday. The same goes for defensive end Everson Griffen, who is dealing with a knee injury. 

Cook injured his hamstring last week in last week’s tie against the Packers. The injury may cost Cook time beyond this weekend’s game, as coach Mike Zimmer says that his availability is up in the air for the team’s short turnaround against the Rams on Thursday.

This was expected to be a bounce back season for Cook, but he has yet to find his footing in 2018. Cook averaged just 2.5 yards per carry in the Vikings’ season opener against the 49ers and he had just 38 yards rushing in last week’s contest against Green Bay.

The good news for the Vikings is that they can rely on Latavius Murray, one of the more talented RB2s in the NFL, to fill the void for however long Cook is out. They also have Michael Boone, and Roc Thomas on the roster, plus fullback C.J. Ham, so they might not have to go out-of-house for depth.

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Dalvin Cook Ahead Of Schedule

In late April, it was reported Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was on track to be ready for training camp in July. In an interview with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero on Sunday, head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed that report and added that the second-year back is ahead of schedule. 

“He’s done really well. He’s ahead of schedule and we’re excited about where he’s at. I think he’ll get in OTAs some but it’ll be limited until we get to training camp.”

The Florida State product got off to a hot start in 2017, rushing for 288 yards in Minnesota’s first three games. In Week 4 against Detroit, however, Cook tore his ACL and was lost for the remainder of the season. He returned to the field and participated in some on-field drills when the team held their voluntary workouts in April.

With Cook returning and the addition of Kirk Cousins in the offseason, Minnesota appears to have improved upon an offense that ranked in the top 10 in points in 2017. When Cook returns, he will share the load with Latavius Murray, who rushed for 593 yards and seven touchdowns following the team’s Week 9 bye week.

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Dalvin Cook On Track For Full Participation At Vikings Training Camp

It appears Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is on track to be a full participant when the team opens training camp in July, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Cook, who tore his ACL in Week 4 of his rookie season last year, has been participating in some on-field drills since the Vikings began their voluntary workouts on April 16.

The Vikings took Cook in the second round of the 2017 draft out of Florida State and he had a superb start to his NFL career, rushing for 354 yards on 74 carries (4.8-yard average) to go with two rushing touchdowns, while also catching 11 passes for 90 yards.

Minnesota advanced to last season’s NFC Championship game, relying on the services of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon at running back. Cook had assumed the starting role to open the year over Murray, who’s set to enter the second year of a three-year deal. McKinnon signed with the 49ers this offseason.

“When I first got hurt, I told [Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman], ‘I’m going to attack this thing 100 percent,’ ” Cook said, via Tomasson. “And the staff we’ve got around me, the people they put around me, there was no chance that I wasn’t going to come back.”

Tomasson notes that the departure of McKinnon likely means the Vikings will add depth at the position through the draft. Mack Brown is currently the only other running back on the roster outside of Cook and Murray.

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Vikings RB Dalvin Cook Done For Season

It’s official – Dalvin Cook‘s season is over. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer confirmed to reporters on Monday that Cook will be shut down with a torn ACL. Dalvin Cook (vertical)

The Vikings feared the worst when Cook exited Sunday’s game against the Vikings. The rookie running back went down without contact mid-stride, so a fully torn ACL was the most likely culprit from the get-go.

Although Zimmer called this a fairly standard ACL injury, the fourth-year Vikings coach said there added there could be damage to Cook’s meniscus along with some cartilage damage, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.

Cook was averaging 4.7 yards per carry heading into Week 4 and had 10 catches for 82 yards through the air. The Vikings may not be able to replace his production, but they do have internal options to draw from. Latavius Murray, who was the presumptive starter when he signed a three-year, $15MM free agent deal with the Vikings in March, now figures to be the top tailback. The athletic Jerick McKinnon is also on the roster and Bronson Hill could be bumped up from the practice squad for depth.

At Florida State, Cook was the only player to rush for more than 4,000 yards in three ACC seasons in conference history. His future is still bright, but he’ll first have to traverse a long road to recovery between now and September 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.