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How Bad Is Dalvin Cook’s Shoulder Injury?

On the third play of the second half of the Vikings-Chargers game on Sunday, Minnesota’s star running back Dalvin Cook tried to go around the right end, but was tackled for a three-yard loss on a fine solo effort by linebacker Denzel Perryman. Cook immediately stayed on the ground, and was obviously in great pain.

When Cook was helped off the field, the announcers felt he had twisted either his left knee or left ankle – he was hunched over and moving very gingerly. He was quickly reported to be out for the rest of the game.

Upon coming out of the sideline injury tent, Cook took a seat on the Minnesota bench. The TV sideline reporter indicated it was a shoulder injury, adding that he was dealing with a clavicle injury a couple of weeks previously.

Up to this point in the season, Cook had chalked up 1,135 rushing yards and he had also gained 519 yards on 53 receptions. Prior to this injury, reserve backs Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone had a total of eight rushing yards on the season. Minnesota’s other principal running back, Alexander Mattison, has 100 rushes for 462 yards on the year – but he too went out with an injury on Sunday and did not return.

If Cook is unable to go against the Packers on Monday night, it would be a major blow for the Vikings, and a major bit of good fortune for the Packers. Green Bay has been quite fortunate on the year in getting to face teams that were without some of their stars, or several starters, because of injury.

Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer was tight-lipped about Cooks’ injury on Monday, saying only that Cook “feels good today.” He also seemed to agree with a reporter’s query about whether he thought Cook could “play through” the injury in the upcoming game.

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook runs against the Green Bay Packers

Sep 15, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs for a gain against Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith (91) and Dean Lowry (94) in the third quarter during their football game Sunday, September 15, 2019, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY Sports

Injury Reporting Requirements

The NFL adopted the 2017 NFL Injury Report Policy two years ago. We’ll see if the Vikings fully abide by the terms of that policy with respect to Cook. The historical mascots of the team from Minnesota didn’t abide by any rules.

According to or based on the new policy:

  • Clubs are responsible for reporting the information accurately to the public, to the opposing team, local and national media, broadcast partners and others. The information must be credible, accurate, timely, and specific within the guidelines of the policy, which is of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of the game.”
  • Since the Packers-Vikings meeting is on Monday night, Minnesota must provide after-practice reports on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, which are to include an accurate description of a player’s injury, how much he participated in practices (fully, limited, or did not practice). If an injury is serious or noteworthy, it must be listed on the report even if the player fully participates at practice. This is especially important for key players whose injuries may be covered extensively by the media.
  • Teams must notify the league, their opponent, local and national media, and the league’s broadcast partners of the status of their injured players by 4 p.m. ET the day before their next scheduled game.

I’m not sure how often teams have been found to be in violation of the new policy (or prior ones), but violations may result in a fine on the club, fines or suspensions of involved individuals, and even forfeiture of draft choices by the involved club.

The absence of Cook on Monday night would be of immense importance to (1) gamblers who wish to bet on the game, and (2) Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Some pundits are already predicting that Cook will skip the final two games of the regular season.

Can we trust the Vikings to faithfully adhere to the policy? Acceptable answers are “no” and “hell no.”

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. PF4L December 19, 2019

    Calvin Cook is no Aaron Jones.

    1. KILLER December 19, 2019

      Vikings fans are thrilled he isn’t.

      1. PF4L December 19, 2019

        queen fans are thrilled Cook has less touchdowns than Aaron Jones?
        Sounds logical. Maybe queen fans value yards more than td’s. That would sound about right.
        Stay in school kids

  2. Deepsky December 19, 2019

    Remember the playoff game in 2013 when the Vikings said Chris Ponder was going to play all week, reportedly practiced all week, then an hour before the game Joe Webb was announced? This sounds like the same thing.

    If the Packers lose this game, and the Packers have never won against the Vikings in their new venue, it’s pretty likely the Packers will again play the Vikings in the first round of playoffs, but this time it will be in Green Bay.

    1. PF4L December 19, 2019

      There’s that, but there is also the fact that Cousins has never won a Monday night game, 0-8 i believe. That takes us back to what has Cousins ever won?
      Lets be honest, it’s the queens. What could go wrong, will go wrong. Packers roll.

    2. Robster December 19, 2019

      I had it in my mind that Zimmer and his co-conspirators had done some flim-flamming like this in the past. Under the revised rules, maybe the Vikes would get, or will get, punished.

      1. PF4L December 19, 2019

        They’ve been punished 4 times. For being somewhere they didn’t belong.
        Packers roll

      2. KILLER December 19, 2019

        Rob, not sure where you get that “flim-flamming” in your mind thing. The Vikings have never been punished and never been accused that I know of until right here in this article. Quite inexplicably!

        As a big Vikings fan I watch the injury report, see how it progresses day to day and listen to interviews and try to read between the lines. All year when it sounds like a player won’t play, he doesn’t. When it sounds like he will, he does. Adam Thielen for instance. Week after week it sounded like he wasn’t at full strength and would not play unless 100% and then did not play. Then all week before the Chargers game they made it sound like he would play and he did.

        The Zimmer and Vikings injury reports have been painstakingly accurate.

        This insinuation — are you maliciously insinuating or outright maliciously accusing? — is made up out of left field.

        1. PF4L December 20, 2019

          “This insinuation — are you maliciously insinuating or outright maliciously accusing? — is made up out of left field.” – L.B.
          So then…. the same thing you do when you maliciously defame Rodgers character in various ways.
          And you still you wonder why people don’t want you here. Amazing

          1. KILLER December 20, 2019

            A couple things, Piffle.

            *There is a difference, a huge difference, between making accurate observations and forming opinions as I do and completely making up stuff out of thin air as Rob has done here.

            Let us compare:
            Rob = Vikings obey all league rules regarding injury reporting = Zimmer is a cheater

            Me = aaron Rodgers has a slim feminine looking male “assistant”… who lives with him as his “roommate”… who is the first person her runs to hug when he wins the Super Bowl… who then breaks up with him and forces him to move out… said “roommate” then posting he is feeling so “Relaxed” when Vikings defeat the Packers in Green Bay… then, subsequent, aaron employs what’s-her-face who is a ruthless self-promoter because she has no acting talent and fairly average looks and they make sure to constantly call the paparazzi magazines report when and where they will be in order to get their image pasted all over… simultaneously aaron ostracizes his entire family, direct and extended, and all past friends as well… aaron gets State Farm career but keeps his side job quarterbacking in the moldiest stadium in the NFL… then later secures another beard who just happens to also be famous and is trying to promote a book… = aaron utilizes beards, aaron is lying to all his fans

            See the difference?

            *The other thing is I know why the less intelligent don’t want me here. They don’t want to hear any contrary opinion or, really, the truth of things. That’s it. No mystery. I’ve never wondered. I’ve been surprised at what a large % of Packers fans on this site are ignorant and insecurely hostile, so that part was educational to me.

          2. PF4L December 20, 2019

            “This insinuation — are you maliciously insinuating or outright maliciously accusing? — is made up out of left field.” – L.B.
            So then…. the same thing you do when you maliciously defame Rodgers character in various ways.
            And you still you wonder why people don’t want you here. Amazing

  3. Robster December 19, 2019

    The Vikes have issued their required injury report following Thursday practice. The only two who did not practice (DNP) were Cook and Mattison. Cook’s injury was again listed as “chest,” even though Cook said that the injury he sustained on Sunday wasn’t the same one (chest) that he’s been listed as having for the last three weeks.

    1. KILLER December 19, 2019

      All year when players have not practiced they have not played and, when they have practiced they have played (though, of course, last second injuries can occur — for instance for the Eagles vs. Lions the Eagles lost 2 players in pregame warm-ups).

      Cook and Mattison have not practiced so I do not expect them to play. One possible difference may be the extra day to Monday night so it is an extra day to heal or prepare or practice.

      Cook has had a chest injury and it has greatly limited his productivity. It looks like the shoulder was a stinger but the chest injury was aggravated. As you know, a stinger is over and done and does not get listed on the injury report for the next game. Emmitt Smith got them frequently as an example.

      It seems now that you are insinuating that the Vikings listing Cook’s injury as Chest — same as last several weeks — is somehow deceptive when it is just consistent and honest. I suppose if the Vikings listed his injury as “shoulder” you would cry foul that they are hiding the chest injury they had already formally admitted on previous injury reports?

  4. KILLER December 19, 2019

    CORRECTION: Rob in the above article reported “Alexander Mattison, has 100 rushes for 462 yards on the year – but he too went out with an injury on Sunday and did not return..” This is mistaken. Mattison was out with an ankle injury before the game and was not active for the game at all. He was even listed (accurately!) as Out days before the game.

    There is no doubt the Packers have a huge advantage these next two games with Minnesota missing both it’s #1 and #2 RBs and Detroit missing both it’s #1 and #2 QBs. Also the Lions announced the coach and GM will be retained which, announced now, is pretty much instructions for them to lose their last two games intentionally. I expect the Packers to terrifically blow out the Lions.

    Which means… oddly… the Packers will have more to play for on Monday night. They want the first round bye. The Vikings will be a wildcard no matter what. As long as the Rams lose on Sunday, which they will, the Vikes are in the playoffs and cannot do better than wildcard (realistically). So, we may not use our best plays and may sit starters sooner, more often, etc.

    So, if the Packers beat the Vikings don’t take it to heart as meaning the Packers are nearly as good.

    1. PF4L December 19, 2019

      So what is your in depth game winner prediction Lonely Boy? Is it the queens “turn”?

      1. PF4L December 19, 2019

        “The Vikings will be a wildcard no matter what.” – L.B.
        And why is that Lonely Boy, why aren’t the queens playing for a first round bye? Wait…
        i might know….maybe you have to beat the team that comes in first place in your division. Glad we got that straightened out.
        Carry on.

        1. MMSUCKS December 19, 2019

          Brutal . . . just plain brutal! A tip of the hat to ye.

          1. PF4L December 20, 2019

            It’s not easy….every once in awhile, sometimes i even…have to think.

        2. KILLER December 20, 2019

          Packers were given 3 games and given a couple more via scheduling bias. 3 games given to the Packers by the refs. Never have to play in London. Almost always get Thursday night games at home. These are huge advantages. Packers are a 6-8 level team in reality. They are no better now than they were last year.

    2. SCPKRFAN December 20, 2019

      Actually a well articulated comment by “killer” I was just in MsP this week, and a lot of fans I spoke to were worried the Packers would win this meeting.

      1. PF4L December 20, 2019

        I agree, he writes so well with so much logic and integrity it’s hard to critique him, he’s amazing. lol

        1. Kato December 20, 2019

          I love his grading of NFL prospects the best. Young Mel Kiper he is

          1. Howard December 20, 2019

            “Who the hell is Mel Kiper?” ;-)

          2. SCPKRFAN December 21, 2019

            I looked it up on the Googles, he is an ESPN analyst, with a forte for draft picks.

          3. PF4L December 22, 2019

            He’s the best…..he has a 3.817295% “hit rate” on predicting players taken in the first round.

  5. Kato December 19, 2019

    I am starting Alex Boone against the Packers. That’s how much faith I have in the Packers stopping the run

  6. Kato December 20, 2019

    Interesting note, Raven Greene returned to practice, and they have one IR designation to return to use. He was a preferred sub package linebacker at the beginning of the season, could be a nice addition. So what happened to ESB? I thought there would maybe be a possibility that he returned layer this year, but I guess not?

    1. Howard December 20, 2019

      ESB was put on IR before training camp last cuts (the initial 53). You have to be on the initial 53 to be eligible for one of the two designated to return players from IR.

      1. PF4L December 20, 2019

        Correct, had they waited a day, left him on the roster, then put him on IR the next day, he would have been eligible to return i believe.
        I don’t think it’s far fetched to consider IR as a storage facility. I never heard how bad his ankle was, if it was season ending, or if he even had surgery. My guess is they thought they didn’t need him and put him in the back warehouse.
        You would think……if the Packers thought highly of him, they would have waited a day to designate him. But, maybe the injury actually was serious and season ending, we’ll probably never know.

      2. Kato December 22, 2019

        Ah, that makes sense.

  7. KILLER December 20, 2019

    Rob, I am confused on one thing. You say the Vikings did something wrong regarding Cook and injury reporting. Are you saying if he DOES play that the Vikings are cheaters or are you saying if he DOES NOT play that the Vikings are cheaters? Or are you saying the Vikings are cheating if he DOES play and also if he DOES NOT play? You never really come out and say which. No ownership there.

    So, are you saying he is too injured to play and he Vikings by listing him accurately as Did Not Practice are cheating? Are you telling us you medically examined him and Cook has no chest injury?

    Or are you saying he is for sure going to play and the Vikings knew that and, even though the DNP is accurate, that it is shame on them for being accurate?

    It’s just weird, Rob. You’ve done some weird stuff in the past and some cool stuff too but this accusation out of thin air about nothing with no evidence of anything… has me a little concerned about you. Hope you’re OK.