Vikings without Thielen, Darrisaw against Steelers; Cook questionable

The Minnesota Vikings host the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night in a critical game for their NFC Playoff hopes, after losing to the Detroit Lions last week.

The Vikings are 5-7 on the season, and in the No. 9 spot in the NFC with five games to play. The top seven teams make the playoffs.

The Vikings will be without wide receiver Adam Thielen, and offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw. Thielen, who leads the Vikings with 10 touchdowns on the season, suffered a left ankle injury after making his first catch at Detroit Sunday. He’s been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, and did not practice all week. Darrisaw exited during the second half of Sunday’s loss with an ankle injury, and didn’t return. He also didn’t practice this week.

The big question on offense will be the availability of Dalvin Cook. He’s listed as questionable for Thursday’s game after being a limited participant in practice Tuesday and Wednesday. Cook suffered a shoulder injury after fumbling in Minnesota’s loss to the 49ers.

The Vikings got some more promising news on the injury and COVID-19 front after missing five defensive starters at Detroit. Linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks don’t have injury designations, and should able to play against the Steelers. Barr suffered a hamstring injury at Detroit, and Kendricks has been dealing with a rib injury. Barr said earlier this week he’s playing Tuesday night.

The Vikings also activated defensive back Patrick Peterson from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Peterson was a full participant Tuesday and Wednesday, and should be back on the field against the Steelers. Thursday night could mark the first time all season Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson, Kendricks and Barr will be on the field at the same time this season.