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Dalvin Cook 'Headed in Right Direction' with Ankle Injury

EAGAN, Minn. — Dalvin Cook played just 33 snaps on Sunday, which accounted for 49 percent of Minnesota's total offensive plays against Cleveland.

And even though the Vikings running back said he is not at 100 percent at the moment as he works through an ankle injury, he believes he is on the right track.

"I don't feel like I'm getting worse. I don't feel like I'm headed in the wrong direction," Cook said. "I feel like I'm headed in the right direction to get myself back to where I need to be at.

"You have those days, but we just played a game," Cook said. "Just trying to work myself back to being 100 percent so I can help us win games."

Cook has a team-high 226 rushing yards in three games played (he missed Week 3's win over Seattle) and has scored the Vikings lone rushing touchdown this season.

And while the ankle injury is another issue he's battling — Cook has previously dealt with ACL, hamstring, chest, shoulder and groin injuries — he said it's simply part of being a running back in the NFL.

"It's kind of like hand-in-hand because if you're not out there you're frustrated still," Cook said. "And if you are out there, sometimes it can hinder you from being the Dalvin that's being explosive a lot of plays, and sometimes it can do that, and that's the frustrating part.

"But you play through it. Part of this game is playing through pain, and that's what comes with it," Cook added. "Playing through injury is something different. Playing through pain, that's what comes with this game, and that's what I'm dealing with, a little pain."

Cook is looking to help spark the Vikings offense that had a season-low 65 rushing yards against Cleveland in Week 4.

He'll get that chance Sunday at home against the Lions, a setup that played out perfectly in 2020.

Cook's highest-rushing total of his career came in Week 9 at home against Detroit as he galloped for 206 rushing yards and a pair of scores.

The back-to-back Pro Bowler said Wednesday that while he's hoping for similar success, the Lions look like a different squad this season.

Detroit has a new head coach (Dan Campbell) and new defensive coordinator (Aaron Glenn). The LIons currently rank 24th in the league with 132.8 rushing yards allowed per game after finishing 2020 in 28th place (134.9 rushing yards allowed per game).

"Had a good game. Had a good game, 200 yards. If you get 200 yards on a defense in the NFL, it's a big game. I had a good game," Cook said. "But it's a whole different group, different coaching staff, everything is different over there. Coach is different over there, everything is different.

"Like I said, you've got to kind of forget about things like that and kind of approach this thing like a new slate, which it is," Cook added. "I'm putting that behind me and I'm trying to go get … more yards, whatever it is … 200, whatever it is. I'm trying to go get it."

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.

The Vikings will try for their seventh straight win over the Lions on Sunday in their quest to get to .500 before the Week 7 bye.

"Yeah, you can't let a team's record or anything they have going on dictate how you go play or prepare for a game," Cook said. "It's the NFL, any given Sunday you could lose …. by anybody. They've been in some close games. They had a close game vs. Baltimore (a 19-17 loss via an NFL-record 66-yard field goal as time expired). Some close games.

"This is an NFL team, they have NFL players over there," Cook added. "We've got to prepare and get ready to go play a good football team."

Detroit is 0-4, one of two winless teams in the league along with Jacksonville.