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Week 5 injury report: Vikings’ RB Dalvin Cook questionable, NT Michael Pierce ruled out

Cook insists he is able to play despite not being 100 percent and not practicing.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions Week 5 opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, have declared their injury designations, and they will be without their run-stuffing nose tackle, but their star running back will have a chance to play.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the Vikings’ injury report, with the starters bolded.

Reserve/COVID-19 list

  • CB Cameron Dantzler
  • CB Harrison Hand

Dantzler is coming off his best game as a professional while filling in as a starter, but landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday has put his game status in doubt. He did tweet out on Thursday night that he was fully vaccinated, which means it’s possible he could be cleared ahead of Sunday’s game per the adjusted COVID-19 rules for 2021.

Hand has actually already been placed on and removed from the COVID-19 list once already this season (in Week 2) and his previously quick turnaround suggests he is also vaccinated and could potentially return for this week’s game.

Ruled out

  • WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (Toe)
  • NT Michael Pierce (Elbow)

Pierce’s elbow appears to be serious as Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune tweeted out that “Pierce could be out a while with the elbow injury” and that “Dalvin Tomlinson could shift to NT with Pierce out.”

If Tomlinson shifts to the nose, look for Sheldon Richardson to be promoted to the starting lineup. Armon Watts, the Vikings’ reserve nose tackle, could also see his time increase or potentially start, leaving Tomlinson at his natural defensive tackle spot.

Smith-Marsette is the team’s kick returner, so the Vikings will need to replace him on special teams this week.

Questionable

  • RB Dalvin Cook (Ankle)

“Part of this game is playing through pain,” Cook said to the Star Tribune on Thursday. “Playing through injury is something different. Playing through pain, that’s what comes with this game, and that’s what I’m dealing with, a little pain.”

Cook didn't practice this week, but all week he has claimed he would be able to play despite not being 100 percent. Cook attempted this strategy last week, to the tune of nine carries for 34 yards, but a full week of rest could improve his ability to make an impact.

No injury designation

  • WR Dede Westbrook (Quad)
  • RG Olisaemeka Udoh (Neck)
  • LB Eric Kendricks (Elbow)
  • LB Nick Vigil (Ankle)
  • LB Anthony Barr (Knee)
  • CB Bashaud Breeland (illness)
  • CB Kris Boyd (Hamstring)
  • S Camryn Bynum (Abdomen)
  • K Greg Joseph (Right Hip)

Every player in this section saw a full week of practices—save Vigil who missed practice on Wednesday but returned in full on Thursday—and all appear ready to play on Sunday.

Barr is the standout name on this list because has not played football in a year due to a torn pectoral muscle ending his 2020 season prematurely and his knee injury that he suffered in the Spring. He has been practicing for three weeks now, and finally said he feels confident to play in a game on it.

“I promise you I’m trying to do everything I can to get back on the field and when that time comes, I’ll be the first one out there,” Barr told the media on Wednesday.

While he plans on being the first one out there, he will surely need an acclimation period as he gets his feet wet, which could mean the Vikings rotate their linebackers a bit in this game.