Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook will play against the Pittsburgh Steelers barring a pregame setback Thursday night, just 11 days after dislocating his left shoulder, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Cook initially was expected to miss at least two games, according to ESPN and multiple media outlets, after injuring his shoulder last month against the 49ers.
But a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that the Vikings were optimistic earlier Thursday morning about Cook’s chances to play against Pittsburgh, and Cook has passed a series of medical tests on his shoulder, according to Fowler.
Cook’s return Thursday would mark a surprisingly quick recovery after the two-time Pro Bowler was carted off the field during Minnesota’s loss to San Francisco on Nov. 28. He missed Sunday’s loss to the Lions but was officially listed as questionable for Thursday night’s game after being a limited practice participant Tuesday and Wednesday.
A healthy Cook figures to be a key offensive contributor for the injury-plagued Vikings, who have lost four of their past six games — including Sunday’s last-second loss to the previously winless Lions — and are in danger of falling out of postseason contention.
Cook, 26, has rushed for 773 yards and four touchdowns in nine games this season and also has 27 receptions. He is the NFL’s seventh-leading rusher despite missing three games this season and is fourth in the league in average rushing yards per game at 85.9.