Before Sunday’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium was over, injured Vikings running back Dalvin Cook already had vowed he would be back for the next game.
Cook suffered a shoulder injury late in the third quarter of Minnesota’s 28-24 victory over the Detroit Lions and sat out the rest of the game. When the Vikings scored the go-ahead touchdown on Kirk Cousins’ 28-yard pass to K.J. Osborn with 45 seconds left, head coach Kevin O’Connell asked Cook how he was doing.
“He said, ‘I’ll be out there next week,’ ” O’Connell said, referring to next Sunday’s game against New Orleans in London.
O’Connell called it “a little bit of a shoulder deal” that Cook suffered when he lost a fumble, his final carry on a day he rushed for 96 yards on 17 carries. Still, the Vikings will check him out thoroughly.
“We’ll run some tests,” O’Connell said. “We should have some time to hopefully get him turned over. … We’ll do what’s best for, obviously, Dalvin, and make sure (medical officials) make those decisions.”
Alexander Mattison replaced Cook and had seven carries for 28 yards, including bulling his way in for a 6-yard touchdown run that cut the Vikings’ deficit to 24-21 with 7:50 left in the game.
Cook has had a number of injuries in his career, including previous shoulder issues.
“You can’t break him,” Mattison said. “As long as it is not too serious, I know he is going to be able to fight through it.”
The Vikings rushed for 123 yards after managing just 62 in last Monday’s 24-7 loss at Philadelphia. Cook had 17 yards against the Eagles on a career-low six carries.
“I’m really proud of the work he put in (Sunday), knowing we would come back to him after not getting (Cook) the rock enough last Monday,” O’Connell said.
METELLUS REPLACES SMITH
With star safety Harrison Smith out due to a concussion, the Vikings turned to Josh Metellus for his first career start.
Metellus was Smith’s replacement when he was hurt in the fourth quarter against the Eagles. O’Connell declined Friday to say whether the starter would be Metellus or rookie Lewis Cine, who ended up playing on special teams Sunday.
“This is my third year in the league and my first time playing significant defensive snaps,” Metellus said. “It’s a confidence-booster.”
Metellus wrapped up the game with an interception at the Vikings 5 with 9 seconds remaining on a desperation pass thrown by Detroit’s Jared Goff from the 50. Metellus was thankful he “got another opportunity” after dropping a possible interception on the previous play.
“(My teammates) leaned on me, and I showed up (Sunday),” Metellus said.
O’Connell argued with the officials after they didn’t call a penalty on Lions defensive lineman Charles Harris in the waning seconds of the first half.
With the Vikings out of timeouts and the score tied 14-14, Cousins had just completed a 12-yard pass to Osborn to the Detroit 44 and was trying to spike the ball. Harris knocked the ball out of the hands of center Garrett Bradbury, costing the Vikings time, and the clock ran out after Cousins took the snap with 1 second left.
“I did see something pretty blatant on that one and that makes it a little hard within the rules to get that ball clocked,” O’Connell said.
Had there been time, O’Connell was prepared to let Greg Joseph attempt a 62-yard field goal. Joseph tied the team record with a 56-yarder two weeks ago, but missed badly to the right on two 56-yard attempts Sunday.
“I’m going to continue to give him long opportunities,” O’Connell said.
With a 1-yard, second-quarter catch, Adam Thielen scored the 50th receiving touchdown of his career, tying him with Sammy White for fourth place on team’s career list. White attended the game on Legends Weekend, and had been told Thielen was one behind him. “It was pretty cool because I got to talk to him (Saturday),” Thielen said. … After tight end Johnny Mundt started the first two games, Irv Smith Jr. was introduced as Sunday’s starter, but Ben Ellefson started at that position. He had two catches for 24 yards after coming into the game with just two receptions in 14 career NFL games. … Jalen Reagor had two punt returns for 20 yards, though he mishandled one before gaining control. He had one reception for two yards.