Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook underwent an MRI on Monday to determine how much damage was done when he dislocated his left shoulder during Sunday's 34-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers but there are varying reports on how much damage he sustained.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Cook not only dislocated his left shoulder, but he also suffered a torn labrum. What's more is that Rapoport says Cook was already playing through a torn labrum on his other side.
Rapoport said the injuries are not considered to be season-ending, but it appears that Cook will be out for a "few games."
ESPN's Adam Schefter had a similar report on Monday night, saying that Cook would miss the next two games against Detroit and Pittsburgh with the goal of returning for a Dec. 20 matchup at Chicago.
But speaking to reporters on Monday, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer wouldn't confirm Cook's exact injury. Instead, Zimmer said Cook's status was "day-to-day" and did not rule him out for Sunday's game at the Lions.
It's worth noting that Zimmer has a history of downplaying the severity of injuries. Prior to the 2020 season, Zimmer called Danielle Hunter's neck injury a "tweak" before he eventually underwent season-ending surgery for a herniated disc.
Michael Pierce got the same treatment with an elbow injury suffered prior to a Week 4 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Although Pierce played in that game, he left early and has not played since. The Vikings placed him on injured reserve on Nov. 13.
But there is a chance Cook could play through the injury. 49ers tight end George Kittle played through a torn labrum for well over a year. He suffered a dislocated shoulder in 2019 and wound up completely tearing his labrum, only to tough it out with the help of a protective sleeve.
"So I dislocated my shoulder last year," Kittle told the Pardon My Take podcast, per NBC Sports Bay Area, "and my labrum is completely torn. So I don't get surgery on it... [The protective sleeve] basically helps me, so it doesn't hurt all the time."
But that is one example of a player deciding to tough out the pain, whereas there are countless other examples of players electing to repair a torn labrum with surgery, which often comes with a recovery of time of 4-8 months (as was the case with Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams).
If Cook isn't able to play this week against the Lions and beyond, the expectation will be to see a combination of Alexander Mattison and rookie Kene Nwangwu, who returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown on Sunday.
"I think there's a chance he might end up getting some more playing time," head coach Mike Zimmer said of Nwangwu.