Ever since Dalvin Cook went down with a torn ACL in his left knee against the Detroit Lions last season, the Viking have made sure that Cook has taken his time coming back from his non-contact knee injury.
While Cook didn’t play in the Vikings preseason opener against the Denver Broncos or in the team’s night practice, he has been involved in training camp, but with limitations. That changed this week the Vikings hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars in joint practices and Cook played in 11-on-11 team sessions. He impressed all who watched but the Vikings still want him to take it slow.
Head coach Mike Zimmer spoke to the Star-Tribune about how he wants to put Cook in more preseason games but wants to make sure he is 100% ready to go. “Each day we’re trying to stack on a few more plays, few more days in a row. That’s really what we’re trying to do, is trying to get him in game-ready shape.”
While we all not so patently await the return of the chef, making sure that Cook is game ready when Minnesota plays the San Francisco 49ers is the most important thing. Early season ending injuries like Josiah Price injuring his knee and New England Patriots Isaiah Wynn tearing his Achilles tendon are reminders that sitting Cook out for as long as possible is the right thing to do.
Latavius Murray handled things very well last season. He rushed for 3.9 yards per carry, with 842 yards total, and had 8 touchdowns. Having Murray to carry the workload while Cook was out helped Minnesota maintain a rushing game. But Cook was going to be magical. In four games he rushed for 4.8 yards per carry, had 354 yards total, and had two touchdowns.
Those are numbers that you want to duplicate this season and making sure that Cook takes his time coming back is how they will make that happen. Despite what all of us want, keeping him healthy until the regular season is what needs to happen. There are too many what ifs with having him play in the preseason.
Our number one concern during preseason is that there are no injuries. And since the Vikings are unfortunately one down already, let’s keep it that way.