Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) stops Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) for a loss of four yards. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is expected to play in Week 9 against the Detroit Lions.
Sources told NFL Network that Cook was "trending" in the direction of a return to the field on Sunday. Sources told the Minnesota Star-Tribune that the Vikings plan to play Cook on a limited snap count on Sunday.
Cook is officially listed as questionable for the clash at 1 p.m. on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The second-year ball carrier hasn't played since Week 4 as he dealt with a hamstring injury. Cook had 98 yards on 36 carries in three games before the injury. He also had 107 yards on nine receptions for the Vikings.
Backup running back Latavius Murray has filled in nicely for Cook, rushing for 386 yards and four touchdowns on 82 carries in eight games, drawing five starts.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said that the team's Week 10 bye will factor into the decision.
"Everything is part of the decision, but if guys can play, they'll play," Zimmer told reporters. "That's just how we do it around here. We aren't going to worry about six weeks down the road or anything like that."
Cook told reporters on Thursday that he feels "great."
"I know y'all are going to ask me if I'm playing, but I've been practicing all week," Cook said. "You'll have to ask Coach Zim' if I'm playing. I feel great, confident, and at myself right now. They got me back to where I need to be, so I've just got to keep striving and stacking the days."
Fantasy Football Outlook
This situation is one to monitor for fantasy football players. Murray has been a very adequate RB2 option in Cook's absence and would especially useful during Week 9 when six teams have byes. Cook being reintroduced to the Vikings' backfield could hurt Murray's value a bit this week. If you have the option, I would stay away from these backs in smaller leagues until you see what type of workload they receive.
The Lions are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. I would rank Murray higher this week as Cook simply won't be on the field as much.