Head coach Dan Campbell said Swift is feeling “pretty sore” on Monday, and didn’t sound confident he’ll turn the corner before Sunday.
“It’s hard to say that you’d see him playing, but there again we’ll know a lot more on how he feels tomorrow and then certainly Wednesday,” Campbell said. “But I know he’s hurting a little bit.”
During Thursday’s Thanksgiving game against the Chicago Bears, Swift injured his shoulder when he was tackled on the sideline and landed hard on his right shoulder and he did not return. Per Campbell, that is the same shoulder Swift injured a few weeks back against the Pittsburgh Steelers—though he was able to finish out that game after carrying the ball 33 times.
If Swift can’t go this week, the Lions will turn to Jamaal Williams as the primary back. Williams has actually started eight games for the Lions thus far, and he is averaging a solid 4.2 yards per carry this season. The Lions have also gotten positive, sporadic contributions from rookie Jermar Jefferson (five carries, 47 yards) and Godwin Igwebuike (six carries, 85 yards).
However, Swift’s potential absence would be most felt in the passing game. Swift has 56 catches (first among NFL RBs) for 429 yards (third) so far this year. Only one Lions player has more catches and yards (T.J. Hockenson).
The Vikings, too, will likely be without their top running back on Sunday. Dalvin Cook suffered a dislocated shoulder in Week 12 and reportedly tore his labrum. While the injury isn’t considered season-ending, he is expected to miss a couple of weeks.
When the two teams played each other last—back in Week 5—Cook missed the game, but backup Alexander Mattison ran for 113 yards on 25 carries. Swift did play and added 51 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards. He also scored the Lions’ sole touchdown in their 17-19 loss to Minnesota.