For the third straight week, the Vikings will head into a game with some uncertainty surrounding star running back Dalvin Cook.
After missing two days of practice due to his sprained right ankle, Cook returned Friday on a limited basis and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Detroit at U.S. Bank Stadium. Cook said Wednesday he was planning to play against the Lions, but head coach Mike Zimmer said Friday he could be a game-time decision.
“He had a good week (of practice),” Zimmer said. “We’ll see.”
Cook was hurt Sept. 19 at Arizona, and has now been listed as questionable for three straight games. He sat out Sept. 26 against Seattle and returned against Cleveland last Sunday, but was hampered by the injury and rushed for just 34 yards on nine carries.
The Vikings listed nose tackle Michael Pierce (elbow) and wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (toe) as both being out Sunday after neither practiced all week. Pierce was lost for the second half in the 14-7 loss to the Browns, and Smith-Marsette was hurt against Seattle and will miss his second straight game.
Pierce likely will be replaced by Armon Watts, who mostly filled in for him against Cleveland, although Dalvin Tomlinson could slide over at times from three-technique defensive tackle. The Vikings also are expected to activate nose tackle James Lynch for the first time this season.
Asked Friday how he felt about the situation at nose guard, Zimmer said, “Good.’’
The Lions listed as questionable for Sunday tight end T.J. Hockenson (knee), tackle Penei Sewell (ankle), linebacker Trey Flowers (knee) and running backs D’Andre Swift (groin) and Jamaal Williams (hip). All were limited in practice Friday.
Similar role for Barr?
Linebacker Anthony Barr will play Sunday for the first time this season, and the Vikings are hoping it will be business as usual.
Barr missed the first four games of the season due to a knee injury. That came after he missed the final 14 games last year because of a shoulder injury.
Zimmer said he expects Barr will return to his role of wearing the headset and calling the defensive plays after he had been replaced by Nick Vigil in that role. And co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Adam Zimmer is expecting Barr most likely will continue in his role of playing every defensive snap.
“It’s the wait-and-see thing, but I’m planning on playing him like normal,’’ said Adam Zimmer.
Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks also regularly never comes out of the game. With Barr returning, Vigil is in line to go from playing every snap to being the third linebacker, who usually plays about 25 percent of the time. And Blake Lynch is in line to go from the third linebacker to the bench.
After missing the first three games of the season due to a groin injury, rookie left tackle Christian Darrisaw made his NFL debut by playing one snap on special teams against the Browns. Offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak said Darrisaw has been progressing well, but wouldn’t speculate on whether he will get some snaps from scrimmage against the Lions.
“We’ve been smart with him but we’re starting to ramp it up more and more every day (in practice),’’ Kubiak said. “I certainly am pleased with his progress.’’
There has been ample speculation that Darrisaw at some point could replace Rashod Hill as the starting left tackle. Hill is ranked by Pro Football Focus as the No. 71 tackle in the NFL out of 73.