Vikings RB Dalvin Cook says he's 'day to day" with groin injury

Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings scores a touchdown against Quandre Diggs #37 of the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field on October 11, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. ((Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images))

Dalvin Cook knew right away something wasn’t right on the Minnesota Vikings’ first offensive play of the second half Sunday night at Seattle.

He caught a screen pass from Kirk Cousins, turned and felt something near his left groin. He thought at first he might be cramping. He went straight to the locker room for tests, came back to the sideline and tried to go back on the field for one play. He was a decoy on a play-action pass, and knew after that play his night was likely over.

“The only thing to do was to give it a go. That was all my call, I told them I had to go out there and try. See if I can go, I went out there and it was just a thing where I just wasn’t in a game situation to play,” Cook said Wednesday. “I couldn’t go out there and play a football game and be me. I just wasn’t able to be Dalvin.”

That’s a harsh reality for the Vikings and their offense to face five games into the season. Cook entered last Sunday’s game leading the NFL in rushing. He exited with 17 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown, and added five catches for 24 yards.

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Vikings coach Mike Zimmer indicated Wednesday he has no plans to rest Cook if he’s healthy enough to play Sunday against the Falcons. Cook did not practice Wednesday afternoon at TCO Performance Center.

“I talked to him today. He said he’s feeling really good so we’ll just see how it goes,” Zimmer said.

“As far as my Atlanta status, we’re going to take this thing day by day. Just really seeing how I feel after treatment and everything. Day by day for me,” Cook said Wednesday.

They may not say it publicly, but the most prudent decision for the Vikings might be to sit Cook out Sunday regardless. The Vikings have their bye week after facing the Falcons, then head to Green Bay. They need a healthy Cook against the Packers.

Minnesota has centered its offensive approach around getting Cook the ball, especially after signing him to a 5-year, $63 million extension before Week 1. The problem? He hasn’t shown he can consistently stay healthy.

He tore his ACL early in his rookie year. He battled a hamstring injury in his second season. Last year, it was chest and shoulder injuries that forced him to miss time. Now a groin injury, which he labeled “a freak accident.”

“It’s football man. I didn’t come into this thing trying to hold nothing back. I’m going out there trying to dial it up every play, flying around. Whatever comes with the game, comes with the game. I’ve been here before, it’s just another bump in the road. It’s football,” Cook said.

Cook had been averaging 5.3 yards per carry and was among the top running backs in the NFL with seven rushing touchdowns before Sunday’s injury. Now, Alexander Mattison likely gets the majority of the carries if Cook can’t go this week.

Mattison is coming off his first career 100-yard game, and is currently averaging five yards per carry himself. The Vikings’ offense centers around Cook, but only if he’s healthy enough to give it 100 percent.