Dalvin Cook isn't 100 percent recovered from an ankle injury but remains confident he'll be able to play when the Vikings host the Lions on Sunday, and his defensive counterpart, linebacker Anthony Barr, also sounds ready to take the field for the first time since the 2020 season opener.
Barr said he's been waiting for the confidence to be able to play in a game without risking an injury setback, noting that he thinks he's "reached that point."
"I'm feeling good and I don't think I'll have any setbacks going forward," Barr added.
Barr has been plagued by a knee injury that he suffered during training camp. He missed all but one game last season because of a pectoral injury.
With Barr back in the lineup, Nick Vigil will still get some snaps at linebacker, but head coach Mike Zimmer says “there’s certain things we can do with [Barr] that we haven’t been able to do in these first four ball games."
Meanwhile, Cook plans to play through pain for a second week in a row.
“That’s the plan,” Cook said Wednesday. “I don’t feel like I’m getting worse or heading in the wrong direction.”
Cook injured his ankle in Minnesota's Week 3 win over Seattle, then appeared to aggravate the injury in last Sunday's 14-7 loss to the Browns, though he did return in the fourth quarter after limping off the field in the third quarter.
"Part of this game is playing through pain," Cook said.
With Cook and Barr on the field, it's a boost to a Vikings team that firmly believes it is just a few plays from being 3-1 or 4-0, rather than sitting at 1-3 to start the season.
"You could say the Cardinals might be the best team in the NFC, you could say the Browns might be the best team in the AFC. We went toe-to-toe with both of them and we just kind of fell short. A play here or there and we're having a whole different conversation," said Barr.
"We got a lot of football left to play."