EAGAN, Minn. – Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said that running back Dalvin Cook "feels good" after leaving Sunday's game with a shoulder injury.
Cook previously had been dealing with a chest injury, but Zimmer told reporters following Minnesota's 39-10 road win that the injury sustained in Los Angeles wasn't the same thing.
In his session with Twin Cities media members on Monday, Zimmer said he believes the injury may be something Cook can play through but later added that it's "too early" to make any determinations.
"I think an extra day obviously helps," Zimmer said. "We'll just have to see how the week goes."
But if the third-year back cannot go against the Packers on Monday Night Football next week, Zimmer feels confident in Minnesota's running back depth.
The Vikings were without rookie Alexander Mattison (ankle) against the Chargers; when Cook went out, Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah stepped up.
Zimmer said he was "really hoping we didn't have to" rely on the depth at running back, but he's glad the team retained four running backs and fullback C.J. Ham on this season's active roster.
"We felt like we had some good guys that were talented runners. Ameer and Boone have been playing really good on special teams, so that helped them to stay," Zimmer said. "And I really felt like, for a couple weeks, Boone's been wanting to have a chip on his shoulder the way he's been running, showing in practice and the things that he's been doing."
Zimmer was asked for his thoughts on Minnesota's overall run game at Los Angeles, which gained 137 yards on the ground.
"I thought Boone really did a nice job. He ran hard," Zimmer said. "When Dalvin was in there, it was a little tougher sledding just because some [Chargers defenders] out-ran some of our guys to get to some of the plays, but overall, I thought it was good.
"To get some carries out of Ameer and then out of Boone were good," he added.
Here are four other topics covered by Zimmer during his podium session:
1. Keeping Cousins clean
Plenty of talk surrounding Chargers defensive ends Melvin Ingram III and Joey Bosa – and rightly so – heading into the Sunday afternoon game, but the pair of pass rushers was almost a non-factor.
Aside from Ingram's second-quarter interception of Kirk Cousins on a screen pass, and one quarterback hit by Bosa, the players weren't often mentioned.
Cousins did not take a single sack.
Zimmer credited multiple factors for helping keep Cousins' jersey clean.
"I think [Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski] has done a nice job calling the game, which helps," Zimmer said. "Helps the quarterback getting the ball out on time, helps he's not sitting back there and patting it. The offensive line has done a nice job, as well. I think if you put all those three things together, it's a combination of not getting negative plays."
View images of the Vikings and Chargers in Big Head Mode as the team defeated Los Angeles 39-10 on Sunday.
2. Have a day, defense
The Vikings defense created an impressive seven turnovers in the West Coast win.
Did Zimmer have a feeling that his defense would have a day, or was it simply a matter of right place, right time?
He said he "hoped" it would be a big outing, considering the Chargers had been known this season to give the ball away.
"They're a timing-based offense, and [Chargers QB Philip Rivers is] going to throw the ball before the receivers break a lot of times," Zimmer explained. "So if you can disrupt some of the timing, if you can be in the right place and anticipate some of those throws, you have a chance to get some."
3. Odenigbo observations
Vikings defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo made the play of the day against the Chargers when he scooped up a fumble by Rivers and ran it 56 yards for a touchdown.
Odenigbo, who has played on the interior line as well as at defensive end throughout the season, was at the 3-technique spot at the start of the play.
Zimmer was asked what makes the young lineman a good fit there.
"Well, long time ago we felt like he (Odenigbo) might be an inside pass rusher," Zimmer said. "I think he's kind of grown into that role a little bit, where we're using him some more with that."
He said that Odenigbo "wasn't ready" when he first joined the Vikings as a seventh-round draft pick in 2017. He spent that season on Minnesota's practice squad but was waived in September 2018. After spending time with the Browns and Cardinals, Odenigbo re-signed with the Vikings in October 2018; he made the 53-man roster this fall.
"Really, it started showing up last year, kind of toward the end of the season when he was on the practice squad. He was having a lot of good battles with Riley [Reiff] and some of those offensive linemen," Zimmer said. "He worked his rear end off this offseason and just kind of continued to progress to that point where he's able to play a little bit more at end.
"He has good quickness and power to be inside, and so I think in this last week we tried to get him on some of the guards a little bit more than some of the other people," Zimmer continues. "He just continues to get better; I'm not comparing him to Everson [Griffen], but he has some of the same traits. He's got violence, suddenness, quickness and strength. Those things are always good for a defensive lineman."
4. We've got a Thielen
Vikings fans saw Adam Thielen in action for the first time since Week 7, save for a brief attempt at a comeback in Week 9.
Thielen was on the field for 33 (51 percent) of Minnesota's offense snaps. He didn't have a flashy outing, totaling three catches for 27 yards and a 3-yard rush, but having him back in the fold certainly benefits the Vikings.
"There was probably a couple times we could have gotten the ball to him a little bit more," Zimmer said. "I thought he made a really nice adjustment on one of the routes Kirk hit him on. He was coming to the sideline, then came back for the ball, and I think we got a first down on that one. The rest of it was kind of, 'Do your job.' "
Zimmer said he didn't think there was "any issue" for Thielen making his return after dealing with the nagging hamstring injury.
Next week's Monday Night Football Border Battle will mark Thielen's 12th career game against Green Bay. He has 57 catches for 767 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers. His next-highest career receiving yards total is 426 against the Lions.