The Minnesota Vikings enjoyed a mostly injury-free summer — until this week.
The last two days have netted three injuries to semi-prominent players for the team, albeit none are considered too serious.
Dalvin Cook was the latest Viking to encounter a minor injury. Sam Ekstrom from Locked on Vikings described the incident on Tuesday, “Dalvin Cook was just escorted off the field during individual drills. His left hand was being held gingerly by a trainer walking alongside.”
The Vikings RB1 returned to practice soon after, although his participation was limited for the rest of the day.
Also on Tuesday, head coach Kevin O’Connell announced that tight Irv Smith underwent thumb surgery, presumably sidelining the fourth-year veteran for at least a few weeks. O’Connell said he expected Smith to be ready for Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers. That wasn’t all for trifling injuries. The Vikings skipper told reporters that running back Kene Nwangwu was “day to day” with a soft-tissue leg injury. Nwangwu became prominent last year after securing Minnesota’s kick returner job.
On a more official scale, linebacker Ryan Connelly and wide receiver Blake Proehl remain on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Cornerback Nate Hairston left the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list on Monday and returned to practice thereafter.
When Cook rejoins the team — probably soon — he’s scheduled for a unique year in 2022. Rumors arose in the spring, detailing the possible utilization of Cook as pass-catcher within Minnesota’s offense. The Vikings tried this approach in 2019 — rather successfully — when Kevin Stefanski was in charge of the offense but abandoned the tactic, for the most part, when Stefanski joined the Cleveland Browns as head coach in 2020.
Cook is the NFL’s fourth highest-paid RB in 2022, behind Christian McCaffrey (CAR), Alvin Kamara (NO), and Ezekiel Elliott (DAL). He’s missed time due to injury in each of his five seasons. Overall, Cook plays about two-thirds of the time throughout his Vikings career.
The injury bug also struck other teams in the NFL on Tuesday. The Denver Broncos lost two offensive players, Tim Patrick (WR) and Damarea Crockett (RB), to torn ACLs.
The Vikings travel to Las Vegas for a preseason date with the Raiders on August 14th. It is unclear if any starters will play.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).