Dalvin Cook makes quick return from shoulder injury, will play Vikings’ game vs. Steelers

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Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook is active and will play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, just 11 days after dislocating his left shoulder.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Cook will play with a shoulder harness, just as he did against the Saints in a January 2020 wild-card game in which he had 31 touches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. With the harness, the expectations are that Cook will maintain his regular workload.

Cook was initially expected to miss at least two games, according to ESPN and multiple media outlets, after injuring his shoulder last month against the 49ers.

Cook’s return Thursday would mark a surprisingly quick recovery after the two-time Pro Bowler was carted off the field during Minnesota’s loss to San Francisco on Nov. 28. He missed Sunday’s loss to the Lions but was officially listed as questionable for Thursday night’s game after being a limited participant at practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A healthy Cook figures to be a key offensive contributor for the injury-plagued Vikings, who have lost four of their past six games — including Sunday’s last-second loss to the previously winless Lions — and are in danger of falling out of postseason contention.

Cook, 26, has hastened for 773 yards and four touchdowns in nine games this season and also has 27 receptions. He is the NFL’s seventh-leading rusher despite missing three games this season and is fourth in the league in average rushing yards per game at 85.9.

The Vikings (5-7) already have ruled out wide receiver Adam Thielen (ankle) and rookie offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (ankle) for Thursday night’s home game against the Steelers.

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