MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings have turned the page from a 27-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and they’re in preparation to face the 0-5 Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
It’s a pivotal week for the Vikings. They need a win to salvage what slim hopes remain of making the NFC Playoffs, and they head into their bye week after Sunday’s game. The Falcons will come to Minneapolis after firing head coach Dan Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff.
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Mike Zimmer addressed several topics at his Wednesday news conference. Here are a few takeaways.
Dalvin Cook ‘feeling really good’
The Vikings don’t yet know if they’ll have Dalvin Cook available against the Falcons on Sunday. Cook left last Sunday’s game at Seattle one play into the second half after suffering a groin injury on a screen pass from Kirk Cousins. Cook went to the locker room for evaluation, came back out and was on the field one more play as a decoy on a play-action pass. He stood on the sideline the rest of the game.
Cook entered the contest the leading rusher in the NFL. Zimmer, when asked Monday if he plans on resting Cook, said “No, I talked to him today. He said he’s feeling really good so we’ll just see how it goes.”
Cook did not practice Wednesday, and said he’s taking things day by day. It might be wise to play it safe and rest Cook this week, with the bye week on the horizon.
Despite 1-4 start, ‘We’re getting better every week’
Your record often says what you are in sports, but the Vikings feel they’re a better team than their 1-4 mark shows. If Will Fuller can make a catch in the end zone, the Vikings might be 0-5. The reality for Minnesota is it has lost to a now 5-0 Seahawks team, the 4-0 Green Bay Packers, the 4-0 Tennessee Titans and the 3-2 Indianapolis Colts. Those four teams are a combined 16-2, and the losses to the Titans and Seahawks, by a single point, came down to the very end.
“We’re getting better every week, so we’ve just got to keep getting better and the wins will come,” Zimmer said
Nothing new with Danielle Hunter
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter was eligible to come off injured reserve as early as Week 4, but it doesn’t appear that’s happening any time soon. Hunter reportedly is dealing with a herniated disc in his neck, and recently posted to social media that he was in New York to get a second opinion on the injury.
Zimmer didn’t have much of an update Wednesday, saying “Still kind of mulling his options I think.”
Hunter had 14.5 sacks last season, and is the fastest player in NFL history to get at least 50 career sacks in his first five seasons. The hope was he could pair with Yannick Ngakoue to make life tough on opposing quarterbacks, but there remains question if Hunter will play at all this season. He has not practiced since Aug. 14.
Sunday’s game against the Falcons will feature two teams with a combined 1-9 record through five weeks. It’s a game the Vikings have to have if they want to make anything of their season.