The Vikings went into the bye week hoping the extra time off would give injured players enough time to heal up for the final push of the regular season, and it's done just that for two of their most explosive offensive weapons.
Minnesota announced that running back Dalvin Cook is finally 100 percent healthy from a hamstring injury, and wide receiver Stefon Diggs is due to return to action after missing the Week 9 win over the Lions with a ribs injury.
“The bye week did come at a well-needed time for our whole team," Cook said Thursday. "We’ve got a lot of guys banged up and to get a lot of guys back at a primary spot that we needed, it was big.”
Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said Thursday that Cook is a "full go" in practices and will be going forward. It's big news because Cook has been limited or completely held out of practices since injuring his hamstring in Week 2 against the Packers.
He missed five of the team's first nine games of the season, and his first extensive workload came in their last game against Detroit when he racked up 109 total yards, including a 70-yard run in which he reached speeds of more than 22 mph.
Needless to say, a fully healthy Cook is good news for the Vikings entering cold games like they have in Chicago this coming Sunday, when game-time temps will be in the mid-20s.
Diggs, meanwhile, said Tuesday that he "will" play Sunday night against the Bears. It's similar to what he said before the Lions game, which he ultimately was held out of, but it appears he's good to go as he was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Vikings also got linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring) back to practice on Thursday, though his status for Sunday remains up in the air.
A loss to Chicago could be devastating
Whoever wins between the Vikings and Bears will take over first place in the NFC North. But if Chicago wins, they'll improve to 7-3 while the Vikings would fall to 5-4-1, given them a significant lead with the Vikings then set to play back-to-back games against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and Tom Brady and the Patriots.
As we wrote about in a previous story, the Bears have a much easier schedule than the Vikings do the rest of the season.