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Vikings’ Dalvin Cook won’t play Sunday against Lions after father’s death

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports

Dalvin Cook won’t play in the Vikings’ regular-season finale on Sunday in Detroit after death of his father. The Vikings’ tweeted their condolences to Cook and his family on Wednesday morning. The team did not say if Cook would play Sunday, but ESPN and NFL Media both reported that Cook returned home to Miami to be with family and thus is out of the NFL’s COVID-19 testing protocols.

Cook’s father, James, was 46 years old.

Cook will finish the season with 1,557 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns on 312 carries in 14 games. The Pro Bowl selection also caught 44 passes for 361 yards and a touchdown. Cook’s 356 touches are second in the league to Derrick Henry’s 363. Cook’s 1,918 all-purpose yards lead the NFL.

Cook’s backup, Alexander Mattison, is still in concussion protocol after being injured in Week 15 against the Bears. If he can’t play, the Vikings will use Mike Boone and/or Ameer Abdullah at running back.

The Vikings were eliminated from playoff contention with their loss last Friday in New Orleans. It’s not clear if coach Mike Zimmer will rest other starters against the Lions. The team did place starting left tackle Riley Reiff on the COVID-19 reserve list on Wednesday. It’s not clear if Reiff has the coronavirus, or if he was in close contact with someone who did.

If Reiff is unable to play against the Lions, it will cost him financially. The Pioneer Press reported Sunday that Reiff secured a $1 million bonus in the loss to the Saints because a playing-time clause in his contract reached 86 percent for the season. If he gets to 93.75 percent, that bonus will increase to $2 million. Reiff, who had his base salary cut from $10.9 million to $5.9 million before this season, would have to not play at Detroit, and the Vikings run 67 or more plays, to miss out on the full bonus, according to the Pioneer Press. Reiff hasn’t missed a snap in 15 games this season.