Vikings RB Dalvin Cook will not play Sunday after father’s unexpected death
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook will miss the Week 17 matchup against the Detroit Lions due to his father passing away at the age of 46, according to multiple sources.
ESPN reporter Courtney Cronin said earlier Wednesday that Cook was flying to Miami for a "family emergency." Sources, along with the team, confirmed the death of Cook’s father later in the day.
There is no word on what the cause of death was at this time.
The Vikings sent their condolences to Cook and his family through a tweet.
The entire Vikings organization is thinking of Dalvin and his family following the passing of Dalvin’s father, James Cook.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 30, 2020
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer did not mention Cook’s absence during his video conference with reporters. Quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Justin Jefferson expressed condolences to Cook, who was selected by vote of the Minnesota chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association as the 2020 recipient of the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award for media cooperation and professionalism.
As Cook tends to his family, the Vikings will not play a game on Sunday that holds any significance. The team has already been eliminated from playoff contention and face a 5-10 Detroit Lions team, who are just playing out the remainder of their season as well.
Running back Alexander Mattison will likely start in Cook’s place. Through 14 games, Cook currently leads the league in rushing touchdowns (16) and scrimmage yards (1,918). Cook’s 1,557 yards rushing rank second in the league only behind Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry entering Week 17. He’ll finish second in team history on the single-season list, behind Adrian Peterson’s 2,314 total yards in 2012 when he won the league MVP award. Peterson, with 18 scores in 2009, is the only Vikings player who has ever tallied more rushing touchdowns in one season.
In other Vikings related news, offensive tackle Riley Reiff will miss the season finale as he was put on the COVID-19 reserve list on Wednesday.
The Vikings also placed tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) on injured reserve, ending the 10-year veteran’s season. He will miss his fourth straight game. Linebacker Eric Kendricks (calf) has missed four consecutive games and would be unlikely to risk further injury Sunday. Beside them and Cook, there was no indication of other notable absences against the Lions. Asked if he was planning to sit any starters Sunday, Zimmer said no.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.