Things are not trending in the right direction for Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. The oft-injured star went down with a shoulder injury in the second half of the team's win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
The injury comes at a particularly difficult time for Minnesota. The team faces the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football, with a playoff spot on the line. The Vikings would clinch a berth with a win, while the Packers can lock up the NFC North.
Cook is an essential part of the Vikings offense. Beyond his own ground production, his threat out of the backfield has helped the Vikings turn into one of the most dangerous play action teams in football, with Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs linking up for absurd numbers on those plays.
Earlier in the week, Adam Schefter said that he'd be surprised if Cook plays. A new report by ESPN's Courtney Cronin is moving in the same direction.
She reports that the team may shut down the former Florida State standout until the playoffs, with a berth very likely at the moment.
The Vikings are even leaning toward shutting down Cook for the last two regular-season games, hoping to have him ready for the playoffs, sources told ESPN's Courtney Cronin. The Vikings can clinch a playoff berth with a victory Monday. Minnesota (10-4) trails Green Bay (11-3) by a game in the NFC North, but the Packers hold the tiebreaker.
Dalvin Cook is not the only injured member of the Vikings' backfield. His main backup Alexander Mattison may also miss the game, which is expected to put Mike Boone in the lead role on Monday. Former Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah is also on the roster.
Cook is seventh in the NFL with 1,135 rushing yards, and tied for third with 13 touchdowns on the ground this season. He also has an impressive 53 catches for 513 yards.
After hosting the Packers, the Vikings finish the season at home against the Chicago Bears the following Sunday in Week 17.