The Minnesota Vikings are heading into a major Week 16 showdown with the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, but they will now officially be without one of the key cogs of their offense. After a week of ominous reports by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Vikings made things official in their final injury report, ruling Dalvin Cook out on Monday night.
The Pro Bowl running back had been dealing with a shoulder injury suffered against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14 but injured his other shoulder in last week's win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Cook leads the Vikings on the season with 1,135 rushing yards and gashed the Packers' defense in Week 2 with 154 yards and a 75-yard touchdown. But he has seen his production dip for various reasons, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry in his past seven games.
With the Vikings potentially clinching a playoff spot on Saturday night with a loss by the Los Angeles Rams, it's possible that Cook won't hit the field until the Vikings' first playoff game.
The logical replacement for Cook would be Alexander Mattison, but the rookie has also been on the mend with an ankle injury. After sitting out last week, Mattison missed the first two days of practice this week, but returned to the field in a limited capacity on Saturday, prompting a questionable status.
If Mattison can't go, the Vikings will rely on Mike Boone, who has been acting as the first-team running back this week in practice per the Star Tribune's Andrew Krammer. Boone was productive against the Chargers, however, running for 52 yards with a pair of touchdowns on just 13 carries.
No matter who is in the backfield, it will be imperative for the Vikings to pave a path to the playoffs on the ground against a Packers defense that ranks 24th in total rushing yards and tied for sixth in yards per attempt (4.6).