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Zulgad’s Roundup: Vikings faced with possibility of not having Dalvin Cook for home opener

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) breaks a tackle by Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the second quarter in Glendale, Ariz. Sept. 19, 2021. Cardinals Vs Vikings

News, notes and a few hot takes:

  • Are the Vikings just being cautious with Dalvin Cook or could one of the NFL’s top running backs miss the home opener Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks? Cook suffered a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s loss at Arizona and sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Cook, who also suffered a stinger as the Vikings fell to 0-2, said Wednesday he was good to go for the Seattle game, but that’s typical of any player whose status is in doubt. Cook rushed for 131 yards on 22 carries and caught two passes for 17 yards against the Cardinals. Last season, he had an average of 25.4 touches per game to lead the NFL. The issue is that with 15 games remaining, the Vikings want to keep Cook as healthy as possible and giving him a significant workload on a sprained ankle could make things worse. Cook has missed 19 games in his first four seasons, including two each of the past two years. Coach Mike Zimmer gave no indication the Vikings will reduce Cook’s touches on Sunday, but it remains to be seen if he will play. Cook’s status for Sunday’s game will be given an official designation when the Vikings’ injury report is released on Friday. If Cook can’t go, Alexander Mattison (four carries for 13 yards and a touchdown in two games this season) will be the top running back.
  • Kirk Cousins moved up a spot to No. 13 in NFL.com’s weekly quarterback rankings. The Vikings QB, who is off to a good start, is one spot behind the Rams’ Matthew Stafford and one ahead of Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield. Seattle’s Russell Wilson, whom the Vikings will face on Sunday, remained fourth behind Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. Former Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater moved up five spots to No. 15 as the Broncos improved to 2-0. Denver’s offensive coordinator is Pat Shurmur, who held the same job with the Vikings in 2017 when they made a run to the NFC title game.
  • Asked about Cousins’ performance through two games this season, Zimmer brought up the veteran’s leadership, saying that it, “has been a lot better this year. Just the way he’s going about his business. .. Not just being to himself, but being around the guys more. I think all of those things are important.” Cousins, who has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions, doesn’t see it the same way. “I don’t think a lot has changed,” he said. “I think I’ve been the same guy all the way through. Just stay the course, keep working and hopefully the wins will come.”
  • It’s not certain when linebacker Anthony Barr will return from a knee injury that kept him out of the first two games, but Zimmer will face a decision when that times comes. Free agent addition Nick Vigil has been very good so far and has remained on the field in nickel situations when the third linebacker comes out. But when Barr is back, will Vigil be taken out when the Vikings employ an extra defensive back? Vigil, who returned an interception for a touchdown last Sunday, doesn’t look like a guy who deserves to lose playing time.
  • Write This Down: The Seahawks will have three or more false start penalties on Sunday because of what is sure to be a raucous crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium. This will be the Vikings’ first home game in front of fans since Dec. 29, 2019.
  • The Timberwolves, who fired president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas on Wednesday, will finally introduce new owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez on Monday as part of their media day at Mayo Clinic Square. Lore and Rodriguez own 20 percent of the team but are scheduled to hold a 60-percent ownership stake by the end of 2024.
  • Rosas’ dismissal doesn’t close the door on the Wolves’ pursuit of disgruntled 76ers star Ben Simmons. Sachin Gupta, who will take over running the Wolves’ basketball operations on a day-to-day basis, has a good relationship with 76ers boss Daryl Morey and the lines of communication likely will remain open, according to SKOR North Scoop-master Darren Wolfson.
  • The Twins’ season ended long ago — at least from the standpoint of being interesting — but the acquisition of Joe Ryan is reason to be optimistic about the future. The Twins traded 41-year-old designated hitter Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays on July 22 for Ryan. The loquacious righthander made his fourth start of September on Wednesday and struck out 11 of 18 batters in a 5-4 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Ryan struck out the final seven hitters he faced and gave up two runs and three hits with a walk as he threw 86 pitches in five innings. He is now 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA, striking out 25 with three walks in 22 innings.
  • Toronto’s Jose Berrios is scheduled to make his first start at Target Field as an opponent on Friday when he faces Twins righthander Bailey Ober. The Blue Jays acquired Berrios at the trade deadline in July and he has gone 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 10 starts, including a 5-3 win over the Twins in his last outing on Sunday. Berrios surrendered three runs, four hits, a walk and struck out six in 6.2 innings.
  • The Twins acquired Austin Martin, an outfielder and shortstop, and righthanded starter Simeon Woods Richardson from the Blue Jays in the Berrios trade. The 22-year-old Martin, whom MLB.com ranks as the Twins’ second-best prospect behind Royce Lewis, is slashing .254/.399/.381 with three home runs, 19 RBIs and five stolen bases in 37 games at Double-A Wichita. The 20-year-old Woods Richardson, who is the Twins’ fourth-ranked prospect, is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in four games and three starts at Wichita.
  • Former Wild goalie Alex Stalock reportedly will miss the entire 2021-22 season because of a heart condition (myocarditis) he developed after he came down with COVID-19 last November. Stalock, 34, did not play for Edmonton after he was claimed off waivers last March 1. The St. Paul native spent four seasons with the Wild. By the way, myocarditis is the same heart condition Wild prospect Marco Rossi developed last year. Rossi has made a full recovery and is taking part in the Wild’s training camp.
  • Former Wild players Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, who were bought out after last season, have listed their Edina homes for a combined $7.29 million, according to Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Parise is now with the New York Islanders and Suter is with the Dallas Stars.
  • Final thought: Don’t forget I’ll be doing a Surly Brewing-sponsored Instagram Live show on the SKOR North account at halftime of the Vikings-Seahawks game on Sunday.