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Cook Feels 'Better Than Expected,' Maintains Confidence in Playing Sunday 

EAGAN, Minn. – Dalvin Cook hasn't backed down from his confidence in playing on Sunday.

The running back spoke to Twin Cities media members on Wednesday and said he has every intention of being back in the lineup after leaving Monday night's game with an injury.

"I feel good. Actually, better than I expected," he said. "I'll be out there on Sunday and ready to get a W."

Cook, who was on last week's injury report with a chest injury, confirmed that he felt it flare up at Seattle when he was tackled by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in the first half. A third-quarter tackle caused Cook to lose possession of the football and to remain on the ground. He did not return from that point.

While Cook said he felt like he could have gotten back in the game, it was important to play it smart.

"That was the best thing, for me to shut it down Monday night so I could get ready to roll on Sunday," he said.

"I don't feel like it's going to hold me back from playing in any game. It's more of just, lay off the contact during the week and get ready for Sunday," he later added. "That's just going to be my plan in preparing for these next couple of games."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer also held his Wednesday press conference and addressed a variety of topics, including whether Cook will play against Detroit.

Zimmer took a more conservative approach.

"We'll see how it goes during the week and then make a decision toward the end of the week," he said. "We're not going to pay a guy that's hurt."

Asked if he's concerned about ball security with Cook, Zimmer said, "No."

But Cook did say he'll be extra focused on that area over the next few days.

"That's what I have to work on – getting that firm grip on the football," he said. "I'm going to work on that all week."

It's certainly understandable that Cook would be raring to go against a Lions defense that allowed the running back his second-best day of the season.

At Detroit in Week 7, Cook racked up 142 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.

Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia spoke with Twin Cities media members via conference call and acknowledged that "the game last time wasn't very good for us defensively." Patricia mentioned several Minnesota playmakers but emphasized Cook's impact.

"You've got to start with the run game, with Dalvin Cook," Patricia said. "We just know explosive, how dynamic he is. He's one of the best backs in the league. He makes the offense go with the run game and then with the play-action game off of that."

View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Seahawks competed against each other on Monday Night Football at Centurylink Field.

If Cook does play this weekend, does he expect the Lions to approach him differently this time around, considering his production in October?

According to Next Gen Stats, Cook faced an 8-man box (one extra defender along with the front seven) just 16 percent of the time against the Lions. His season average, including that game, is 24.2 percent.

Cook said he "hopes" the Lions put more defenders in the box.

"If they do, we're still going to do what we do," Cook said.

He paused a moment, smiled and then added: "But if they don't, it should be a good day."

The Vikings currently are at 8-4 with four regular-season games remaining, including home matchups against all three division opponents. They currently control their own destiny and stand in a favorable position to make the postseason.

So, is it tempting for Cook to step aside and miss some time in hopes of being at 100 percent in a few weeks?

Not if it's left up to him.

"I love playing football," Cook said. "[Sitting out is] not part of my plan; it never was part of my plan. It's never something I thought about. I love being on the field.

"It's fun being out there, and I missed enough time before," he added. "I'm gonna try to be on the field."

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