So far, 2019 has been a tremendously fortunate season for the Green Bay Packers on the injury front. The team has seen few significant injuries to key players, with most of the team’s week one starters remaining healthy throughout the season. The only two players who started the first regular season game in Chicago and who are seriously injured at this point in the season are left guard Lane Taylor and safety/linebacker Raven Greene, while top receiver Davante Adams did miss four games earlier in the year.
The Packers’ opponents, meanwhile, have posted lengthy injury reports, as the team has missed facing several key opposing players in many of this season’s games. From no Patrick Mahomes in the Packers’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs to avoiding linebackers Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan against the Bears last Sunday, the Packers have been fortunate to not see several starters on the opposite sideline.
This week appears to be no different. The Minnesota Vikings are likely to be without star running back Dalvin Cook for the teams’ week 16 matchup on Monday Night Football, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Courtney Cronin. Both of those individuals are reporting that their sources tell them that Cook is unlikely to play due to a recent shoulder injury.
Cronin’s report specifically mentions the Vikings shutting him down for the remainder of the regular season in the hopes of having him fully ready to play in the postseason, should Minnesota make the playoffs. The Vikings have not yet clinched a spot, but would do so with a win in either this Monday’s game or their week 17 home matchup against the Chicago Bears, or with a Los Angeles Rams loss in either of the final two weeks. Indeed, they may have a spot locked up by kickoff on Monday night if the Rams fall to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday evening.
If Cook indeed does not play, Alexander Mattison would be the primary backup option. Mattison, however, missed last week’s game against the Chargers with an ankle injury, and his status will be worth monitoring closely as well. Mattison has averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 100 rushes this year and accrued 137 total yards from scrimmage in his two most recent games on the field. If both Cook and Mattison are out, look for the Vikings to turn to Mike Boone as their primary tailback.
For the Packers’ part, they surely would not be disappointed if Cook had to sit. While he was on injured reserve as a rookie and the Packers largely bottled him up on the ground in both 2018 matchups, he did gash the Packers as a receiver in those two contests, with 99 receiving yards and a touchdown combined. Cook then went off in week two of the 2019 campaign, rushing for 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries and adding three receptions for 37 yards.
The Vikings are understandably playing their cards close to the vest. In a media conference call on Thursday morning, head coach Mike Zimmer said that “I think (Cook is) doing well,” and “we’ll see” about his status for Monday. Still, keep a close eye on the Vikings’ practice reports this week and their final injury report on Saturday to see whether Cook still has any chance to suit up on Monday.