Vikings, Lions likely missing top RBs in rematch

A couple of NFC North clubs will likely lean on their backup running backs to shoulder the load this Sunday after their starters injured those particular joints.Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook and Detroit’s D’Andre Swift are not expected to play after suffering shoulder injuries in their team’s most recent game. The Vikings and Lions will go to Plan B, C and maybe D on the depth chart in Detroit.Cook was injured during the third quarter of Minnesota’s 34-26 loss to San Francisco on Sunday. Cook has rushed for 773 yards and four touchdowns, along with catching 39 passes this season,”We’ll just see how Dalvin’s doing,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “It’ll be day-to-day and we’ll see where it goes.”Cook didn’t practice on Wednesday, so it’s likely Alexander Mattison and Kene Nwangwu will be the ball carriers. Mattison has been the primary backup for three seasons.”He does so many great things at running back, whether it’s running the football, protecting, catching the ball, running routes,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said of Mattison. “It’s a great comfort for me to have him back there.”Cousins is also eager to see what Nwangwu can bring to the offense.”He certainly has the athletic ability to be a great player,” Cousins said. “I’m looking forward to giving him more opportunities and letting him show the kind of player he is.”If the run game falters, the Vikings (5-6) can always fall back on their aerial attack, featuring Cousins throwing the ball to Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. They have combined for 130 receptions, 1,713 yards and 16 touchdowns.Minnesota has provided plenty of drama this season. All but one of its games was decided by eight points or less.”As Coach Zimmer has said, the preference is to not even make it close,” Cousins said. “That’s certainly the first coaching point — let’s not leave it to the last play. But I know our opponent this week, the Lions, they’re saying the same thing.”Minnesota defeated Detroit 19-17 on a last-second field goal in their first meeting on Oct. 10. The Lions (0-10-1) have lost three games in that fashion.

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