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Final Thoughts: Cooking Something Up for Preseason Game No. 3

Will Dalvin Cook make his 2018 debut tonight? It’s a question many want to know and a question only one man can answer. That man is Mike Zimmer. He’s been asked that question multiple times over the past week, but he’s held his cards close to his vest.

“I don’t know. I guess we’ll just have to see,” Zimmer said earlier this week when asked if there was a plan for Cook.

Cook has been held out of the first two preseason games, and that’s the only reason to wonder if he’ll be held out of the third preseason game, too – the one commonly referred to as the “dress rehearsal.” Outside of being held out of the first two preseason games, every indicator since Cook was injured has suggested the sensational runner would be back to action for the 2018 season.

Every step of the way during his rehab and recovery, Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman have been optimistic about Cook’s status when speaking publicly. Cook himself has an undertone of quiet confidence about being ready whenever he speaks publicly. He was a participant in some of the offseason program, including the mandatory minicamp. Then he shed the knee brace. Then he was ready for training camp. To the untrained eye, he looks ready to go.

To the quarterback’s eye, he looks ready to go, too.

“He looks ready to go,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “There is no hitch or anything in movement skills that suggest limitations. I think it is going to come down to, or maybe he gets in this Friday, I don’t know. But if not, the regular season is where we want to get him his touches and have him make a major impact.”

There’s reason to be optimistic Cook will be ready for Week 1, and that he could see some action tonight. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

Mailbag

Coming up to Week 3 of the preseason, do we expect to see the starters play most of the game knowing they won’t play in Week 4? And after signing George Iloka, do you see Andrew Sendejo playing less? I know Zimmer tried getting Iloka last time he hit free agency.

-- Phil LeTourneau

Minnesota

Vikings starters played more in Game 2 than they did in Game 1, and I expect they’ll play more in Game 3 than they did in Game 2. Exactly how many series they’ll play or exactly when they’ll exit the game is hard to say. I’m sure Zimmer has a plan, but it’s as much of a “feel it out” decision as it is a pre-planned decision. He will pull them from the game when he’s seen enough. It’s reasonable to expect to see most of the starters play to halftime and perhaps a series in the 3rd quarter, but anything more than that is unlikely. As for the addition of Iloka, there’s reason for fans to be excited about that. He’s an experienced, savvy and talented defender with great size who knows Zimmer’s defense. But remember, Sendejo is a valued member of this defense because of his synergy with Smith and his knowledge of the scheme. I don’t view the signing of Iloka as an indictment against Sendejo. I view it as a case of a talented player who is a good fit in our scheme being available and the Vikings moving on that player to improve the depth and continue the effort to field the best possible 53-man roster. Do not be surprised if Sendejo remains the starter next to Smith initially.

NFL Game Pass

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You can customize your viewing experience with NFL Game Pass. Want more than just the highlights, but don't have time for the full broadcast? Watch a Condensed Game in ~45 minutes. Want to watch tape like the pros with coaches’ film? There’s an all-22 version of the replay, too.

Stream Preseason Games Online for Free

Vikings fans in primary and secondary markets of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota South Dakota, Nebraska and LaCrosse can also live stream the game online here for free during the preseason.

Broadcast Information

TV: FOX 9
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline: Greg Coleman, Ben Leber

Radio: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline: Greg Coleman, Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 5:00 pm CT

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