Season over for Dalvin Cook due to his father’s unexpected passing

(Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook
(Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /

The father of the Minnesota Vikings running back unexpectedly passed away on Wednesday.

On Sunday, the 2020 season will come to a close for the Minnesota Vikings when they head out on the road to face the Detroit Lions.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer will have his team ready to get a victory this week, but they will have to do it without star running back Dalvin Cook. Unfortunately, Cook had to head home to Florida on Wednesday due to the unexpected passing of his father, James Cook.

Minnesota might have already had plans to rest their top running back on Sunday to avoid injury anyway, but now the team knows he definitely won’t be out on the field when they take on the Lions.

Who will be the starting running back for the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17?

With his season officially coming to a close, Cook will finish with a final rushing total of 1,557 yards, 17 total touchdowns, and 44 catches for 361 yards. His rushing total is the third-highest in a single season by Vikings running back in the franchise’s history.

In addition to being without Cook this weekend, Minnesota also found out on Wednesday that left tackle Riley Reiff might have to miss the matchup with Detroit as well. The Vikings placed have placed Reiff on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list and if his designation is due to a positive test, then his 2020 season is over.

If Reiff is unable to suit up on Sunday, then it will be interesting to see who Minnesota throws in at left tackle. Will they shift Ezra Cleveland over from right guard or will they keep the rookie on the inside of the offensive line and turn to someone else to start at left tackle?

As for replacing Cook, the Vikings’ running back depth isn’t the greatest heading into Week 17. Alexander Mattison missed last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints due to a concussion, but he did participate in the team’s practice on Wednesday. So it seems like he could be on track to returning to the field this weekend.

Even if Mattison is healthy enough to play against the Lions though, Minnesota could still choose to just use a combo of him, Mike Boone, and Ameer Abdullah in their backfield on Sunday.