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Monday Morning Mailbag: Where Do Things Stand With The Offense?

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How bad is Dalvin Cook's injury and how soon can he return? -- Sahn Tyre

Further testing today (Monday) will reveal the severity of Cook's injury, but Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer had an ominous tone on Sunday after the game when asked about his rookie running back. So, it doesn't feel like good news is coming but everyone will be waiting to see what the testing reveals. Regardless of the official diagnosis, it's clear that there will be a role to fill at running back for at least the short term and possibly for the rest of the season.

We failed to capitalize to take control of the game early when we missed two interceptions. We had missed tackles; the most I've seen in a game this season. Plus, fumbles and we missed a field goal. Although we messed up in all three phases of the game, we never gave up showed heart. We can beat anybody on any given day. Skol! -- John McGuire Lone Pine, CA

That's an interesting observation because on a day when the Vikings lost at home to a division rival, one of the first things coach Zimmer said in his press conference was he thought his team fought hard in the game. And I think he's right. The Vikings did play hard; they didn't come out flat and they were biting, scratching and clawing to find a way to win the game all the way to the end, despite the Cook injury and several other momentum-killing mistakes. But, in the end, losing the turnover battle 3-0 proved too costly to overcome. The offense didn't protect the ball and the defense, despite playing well, didn't take the ball away on a few occasions where Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw them the ball. This is a week-to-week league, and I think the Vikings last two performances – a convincing win over Tampa Bay last week and then this week's loss to Detroit – bear that out, as do upsets like Buffalo over Atlanta, Carolina over New England and the Los Angeles Rams over Dallas, all on the road.

Well, three turnovers and a missed field goal. Enough said. A further concern was our inability to get the Lions off the field. The defense played well but not great. There were moments of greatness and then we would allow the Lions to convert a 3rd down. We just weren't dominating. On to Chicago and maybe a defensive feast on a rookie QB. Skol! -- John Stephens

I'll give you the turnovers and missed field goal, just as we discussed in the previous question. But I couldn't disagree any more on the defense. The Vikings defense basically played lights out on Sunday. They held Detroit to 3.7 yards per play, three of 13 on 3rd downs, one touchdown and they sacked Stafford six times. The defense did all it could, aside from taking the ball away, to help the Vikings win the game. In fact, it's the dominant defense that will buoy this team going forward as the offense has to deal with yet another injury to a major contributor.

What do you think about the situation of Bradford and Cook? Now it looks like we are without our starting running back and quarterback. What are the possibilities on offense? -- Tomáš Vitásek Prague, Czech Republic

There's no denying that missing Bradford and the potential loss of Cook for the season is a big deal. Either of them alone would be a major deal for any team to handle; the Vikings are now dealing with both propositions. Both Bradford and Cook are significant contributors and it's unlikely their replacements can duplicate the production. But it's not as if the offense is now void of play makers. Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen are bona fide play makers and they will be able to pick up the pieces. Football is a physical game and the "next man up" mentality is in play for the Vikings right now. They aren't going to cancel the rest of the Vikings games, no other teams are going to feel sorry for the Vikings and the guys who are healthy will be anxious to get back out on the field next Monday night to play the Chicago Bears and get back on the winning track.

Want more info about the Vikings? Join Team Reporter Eric Smith for his weekly Vikings Live Chat on Tuesday at 1 p.m. (CT) from Winter Park.

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