Vikings’ Cook shows toughness after physical game in Arizona

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Late in the second quarter on Sunday, Dalvin Cook was stood up at the line of scrimmage by Arizona’s 335-pound defensive tackle Corey Peters.

All of Cook’s momentum was stopped in an instant and he was pushed back by a group of Cardinals defenders.

Cook said he suffered the first stinger of his career and didn’t know how to react. The Vikings star running back went to the sideline medical tent to be examined. With no treatment necessary and feeling better, Cook later returned to the game.

“Nah, it goes away, and you play football,” Cook said Wednesday when asked if the stinger needed any treatment.

Minnesota is used to Cook returning from injury, and the team’s offensive focal point demonstrated his toughness again in another physically punishing effort on Sunday.

Cook also left the game in the fourth quarter, the second time with an ankle injury after Arizona defensive end J.J. Watt landed on his legs during a tackle. Again, Cook returned as the Vikings lost 34-33 on a last-second, field-goal miss.

“There are moments where you don’t know if you have him for the rest of the game and then he’s back in,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “Just did a great job coming back and being tough and playing hard, running hard. We ask a lot of him. He’s a warrior.”

Cook confirmed the two separate injuries on Wednesday, shortly before he was held out of practice with the ankle injury.

The stinger might have caused him the most alarm. He said it’s the first time he’s dealt with a stinger.

“I didn’t know whether I should get up,” Cook said. “I don’t know where it was coming from. … But it was just something different for me that I never felt, so I was just taking precautions and had the trainers take care of what they’re gonna take care of.”

When he was on the field, Cook was his usual productive self. He finished with 131 yards rushing on 22 carries.

“He’s out there hurting, and he’s still out there getting 5 (yards) a pop and making big plays,” receiver K.J. Osborn said.

For Cook, responding to pain is nothing new, particularly against this week’s opponent.

Minnesota hosts the Seattle Seahawks for its first home game of the season. After an 0-2 start, there’s no holding back or taking it easy on their top rusher for the Vikings.

“You know, at this stage, it’s time to get some wins,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Dalvin’s a tough guy. If he can’t play, there’s a reason why he’s not playing. But he makes us go, so we’re going to continue to play him.”

Games in Seattle each of the past two years haven’t been kind to Cook.

In 2019, Cook left the game midway through the third quarter with a shoulder injury and didn’t return. Last season, it was a groin injury in the third quarter that knocked out Cook. Cook was leading the league in rushing through five weeks when he was hurt and he missed the following week’s game as well.

Cook is ready to face the Seahawks at home, joking that it seemed like a contract was signed forcing Minnesota to play in the Pacific Northwest. He said star players on the other side, such as linebacker Bobby Wagner, force Cook to elevate his play.

Taking physical punishment is just part of the job.

“I know I play running back, I’m gonna get banged up,” Cook said. “But the recovery is key. I’m in the training room a lot with the conditioning coach, just getting to it, trying to get my body back up.”

NOTES: The Vikings placed cornerback Harrison Hand on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Hand did not play Sunday because of a hamstring injury. … Anthony Barr (knee) returned to practice after missing all of last week. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland (back/shoulder), tackle Christian Darrisaw (groin), defensive end Everson Griffen (concussion), linebacker Eric Kendricks (hip) and cornerback Patrick Peterson (toe) were listed as limited participants in practice.

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