Head coach Mike Zimmer said on Wednesday that he hopes running back Dalvin Cook can play on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but according to media reports Cook is expected to miss a fourth straight game and perhaps more because of a hamstring injury.
ESPN reported that Cook will miss the next two games and could return in Week 11 after the Vikings' bye week before possibly returning on Nov. 18 against the Chicago Bears.
Cook sustained the injury during overtime of the Vikings' Week 2 game against the Green Bay Packers. He has rushed 36 times for 98 yards this season and catching nine passes for 107 yards in parts of three games this season.
Without Cook in the lineup on a regular basis, the Vikings (4-2-1) have struggled with their running game and enter Week 8 ranked 27th in the league with an average of 87.4 yards per game.
Latavius Murray, who has rushed for 330 yards and three touchdowns, will continue to start in place of Cook, with Mike Boone and Roc Thomas in reserve.
The Vikings picked Cook in the second round (No. 41 overall) of the 2017 NFL draft out of Florida State and he started four games as a rookie, rushing for 354 yards and two touchdowns before suffering a torn ACL that ended his rookie season.