The Minnesota Vikings placed running back Dalvin Cook on the COVID-19 reserve list on Sunday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The #Vikings have placed RB Dalvin Cook on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 23, 2021
Chris Tomasson of St. Paul Pioneer Press notes that Cook is unvaccinated and therefore unlikely to return by Sunday.
#Vikings RB Dalvin Cook put on COVID-19 list. He's unvaccinated so not expected to play Sunday vs. Rams.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) December 23, 2021
Cook has played in 11 of 14 possible games this season, rushing for 1,067 yards and six touchdowns. It is Cook’s third straight season over 1,000 rushing yards, but he has also lost another three fumbles—a typical problem for him over the last few years. He has also caught 30 passes for 221 yards. The NFL adjusted its COVID-19 protocols last week in response to outbreaks on a number of teams, including the LA Rams, the team that the Vikings are hosting on Sunday. But those protocols pretty much only help vaccinated players return with a quick turnaround.
In Cook’s absence, backup Alexander Mattison has three starts: 26 carries for 112 yards, 25 carries for 113 yards, and 22 carries for 90 yards. So it is clear that the Vikings do not mind handing their backup the ball as much as they can when Cook is out.
Another interesting player on the team to monitor is rookie Kene Nwangwu. The fourth rounder has seven carries for 49 yards on offense, but has shown unique explosiveness with two kickoff return touchdowns already in only six games played as the returner.