“That’s the plan,” Cook said Wednesday. “I don’t feel like I’m getting worse. I don’t feel like I’m headed in the wrong direction. 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. Just trying to work myself back to being 100% so I can help us win games.”
Cook totaled nine carries for 34 yards in a 14-7 loss to Cleveland. He missed most of the second half before returning for the second-to-last series of the game.
“I think Dalvin was feeling a little sore and we were just kind of monitoring him,” offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak said. “We didn’t want to put him out there injured. To his credit, he came back in the game and really wanted to come play and help us win, and did a great job. It just speaks to his toughness.”
Cook was a non-participant at practice Wednesday and Thursday. He said Wednesday he’s “not 100% yet” while still working through his rehabilitation. He said his focus is on monitoring how hard he can push himself in games while not risking reinjury.
“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. 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.”
Backup running back Alexander Mattison, who notched career highs in rushing and receiving against Seattle in Cook’s absence during Minnesota’s sole win of the season, had 10 carries for 20 yards against Cleveland.
If Mattison again splits snaps due to Cook’s injury, Kubiak doesn’t anticipate having to alter how he calls run plays.
“We’re not making wholesale changes based on the back,” Kubiak said. “I think both those guys give us a great opportunity to win and I’m really pleased with Mattison. Wish I would have got him some more production last week but I know he’s up for the challenge in this one.
“We certainly miss Dalvin’s production, but we have a lot of confidence in the guys behind him picking up the slack.”